Think Diabetes Report calls on London employers to better support staff living with diabetes

Think Diabetes Report calls on London employers to better support staff living with diabetes

London employers are being urged to ‘Think Diabetes’ in the workplace in a new report published by the Health Innovation Network. Figures in the report show a major gap in the number of with people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes attending free educational programmes to help them learn about their condition and live healthier lives.

There were more than 3.1 million people  diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes  in England in 2017-18 and it is estimated that in London over 671,000 people of working age (over the age of 16) have  either Type 1 or Type 2  diabetes. But the Think Diabetes Report shows less than 8 percent of eligible Londoners living with Type 2 diabetes are attending these courses (this figure is less than 9 percent of eligible people across England).

Reasons for people not attending these courses are varied, but previous reports have cited ‘time off work’ as one of the key issues.  Given the potential for employers to support staff with health, the Think Diabetes report makes a series of recommendations on how employers can help support their staff to take advantage of the education opportunities available to them, or even provide education for staff themselves.

To celebrate the launch of the report, we partnered with Diabetes  UK  to deliver the Think Diabetes Summit. The event brought employers, diabetes experts and patients together, to discuss ways in which organisations can support their staff including; running education sessions in the workplace, sharing new digital approaches to education with their teams so staff can complete these courses online and by making sure staff are supported to take time off work for education to help them live with a long-term health condition.

Diabetes is covered by the Equality Act 2010 as a long-term condition that has significant impact on individuals’  lives and employers are therefore obliged to make reasonable adjustments, although these adjustments are not defined. The case for employers adjusting their policies and supporting individuals to attend structured education is overwhelming.

The event was chaired by Dr Neel  Basudev, Diabetes Clinical Director of the Health Innovation Network and GP in Lambeth, who said:

“Employers have huge influence over the lives of the working population and a unique opportunity to help with what is arguably the greatest challenge facing our nation’s health: diabetes.

“There are more ways for people to access vital education about diabetes than ever before, with many parts of the NHS innovating with digital courses and new approaches to offer support. We now need to raise awareness of what’s on offer and remove as many barriers as we can. Workplace barriers are some of the simplest to address and changes can be made to support staff that will increase the health and productivity of the workplace.”

As well as hearing from diabetes experts and representatives from the organisations who were case studies in the report, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Culture Minister Tom Watson MP shared how he self-managed his own type 2 diabetes into remission. A passionate advocate for helping people learn to self-manage, he said: 

“By changing my diet and lifestyle I’ve put my Type 2 diabetes into remission. I feel fitter, faster, and healthier than ever before and this has given me a new mission to help others get healthy.

“Supporting people who live with diabetes is a major challenge facing our society, and one in which we all have a part to play. Employers in particular can play a key role in supporting people in their journey to learn more about their condition, and how best to manage it.

“It is time employers think differently about diabetes in the workplace and the Think Diabetes Summit is bringing together key leaders from across businesses and organisations to do just that.”

The Think Diabetes Summit was attended by organisations that collectively employ thousands of Londoners. TechUK attended the event and their CEO Julian David said: “techUK represents the companies and technologies that are defining today the world that we will live in tomorrow. I feel passionately that our members should also be leaders in supporting and developing the workforce for the future.  Diabetes is an increasing problem in our society and employers should be engaging with innovative ways to help support staff living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to better manage their condition.”

Download the Think Diabetes Report and Toolkit here.

Innovation Exchange – the digital innovations transforming the NHS

Innovation Exchange – the digital innovations transforming the NHS

As part of London Tech Week, Health Innovation Network and DigitalHealth.London Accelerator partnered with DAC Beachcroft and NHS Improvement to deliver an Innovation Exchange evening at the Wallbrook Building.

At the event, NHS leaders from across the health system, came together to learn about the innovative digital solutions that are already helping trusts across the country to tackle current NHS workforce challenges and discuss the challenges of implementation, interoperability and cost. Attendees included; HR directors from Acute & Mental Health Trusts around London, Borough Councils as well as representatives from national bodies such as Care Quality Commission CQC, NHS England & NHS Improvement.

The overwhelming response to the information shared was encouraging, but also very timely. The recently published Interim People Plan highlighted the important role that digital will have to play to help the NHS combat the current workforce crisis, particularly in relation to productivity.

But digital transformation can be difficult when you consider challenges with costs, planning and implementation. As well as showcasing some of the solutions available right now, discussions were centred around what cultural change is needed to find and uptake digital solutions. A key point that was raised is interoperability – new innovations must be able to work seamlessly with existing systems for compliance and adoption to happen.

And as is always the case with any discussion around digital, the question of how automating services will affect patient care was raised. Workforce shortages are a fact of the NHS and while not all services can be automated, using AI to support the workforce in areas such as rotas and training will help clinicians spend more time on delivering better patient care.

As well as looking to the future, a series of innovations that are already transforming NHS services, by saving money, time and supporting staff, were presented on the night:

  • Locum’s Nest – a temporary staffing management platform to simply connects doctors to locum work in healthcare organisations. The App matches doctors to short-staffed shifts available within preferred hospitals across a chosen geographic area.
  • Virti – Virtual and augmented reality platform for workforce training that transport staff users into realistic environments and uses computer vision to assess how they respond to stress to reduce anxiety and improve skills. Used for mental health staff to provide simulation training.
  • Establishment Genie – An NICE-endorsed digital workforce planning tool for health and social care staff. The Genie collects staffing data for instant reporting at individual unit, organisation and group level, providing analysis and benchmarking capability not previously available to assure and support professional judgement in identifying safe and appropriate staffing levels.
  • Infinity – a secure collaboration and task management solution that integrates with existing health information systems and transforms the way healthcare professionals coordinate their activity and access critical information.
  • Lantum – is a total workforce platform transforming how healthcare organisations and professionals connect. Their next generation AI-powered software helps staffing managers to better manage their rotas, fill shift gaps & drastically reduces reliance & money spent on temporary staffing agencies.
  • Truu – is a digital identity platform that enables secure, digital, remote pre-employment checks. Truu’s approach uses direct connections between doctors’ and hospitals and the sharing of verified credentials that meets regulatory standards and is inherently GDPR-compliant.
  • CoachBot – is the world’s first digital team coach and is designed to help managers get their team performing at the top of their game. It’s built on the principle that technology should make us interact offline more, not less. CoachBot makes it easy for teams to regularly have conversations about the things that matter – it’s not about teaching managers how to be good managers, it’s about making it easy for managers to do the things that great managers do.
  • SilverCloud Health – is a platform that’s provides clinically effective and easily accessible digital programmes that reduce barriers to engagement for those wanting emotional or mental health support. Life changing for users, especially those who feel unable to access help due to stigma, personal situation, location, or service wait times;
  • Q doctor – uses secure video consulting as a workforce solution; to allow NHS organisations to delocalise their workforce across their geography, putting the right clinician in the right place at the right time. Video consulting decreases workforce travel time between sites and in the community and introducing more flexible working.
  • Induction App – is a secure communications toolkit that quickly connects healthcare professionals to the people and information they need to work more efficiently and effectively in hospitals. The functions include a directory of bleep and extension numbers, document and guideline sharing, secure messaging and departmental workspaces. Induction is used by over half of all NHS doctors and is used by healthcare professionals in most NHS trusts.

“It was incredible to see so many well presented company pitches for innovative solutions to tackle the workforce crisis in the NHS. Overall the responses were positive and no doubt many of the conversations that started here will help mitigate the workforce crisis and result in improvements to the NHS using digital technology in the future.” Lesley Soden, Head of Innovation, Health Innovation Network.

To meet the gaps in NHS workforce, the adoption and spread of innovation across the NHS must be accelerated. Increasing awareness of the products that are currently available and their successes in different trusts is the first step to ensuring a robust NHS workforce fit for the future.

Got a digital innovation project or pilot that could improve the lives of people within NHS south London but would benefit from some additional funding? Then make sure you apply for the Innovation Grants 2019.

Adventure before Dementia

Adventure before Dementia

Written by Charlene Chigumira, Trainee Project Manager for Healthy Ageing and Patient Safety.

The Healthy Ageing team attended the 13th annual Dementia Congress in Brighton last month, and it was even more special than I had imagined it would be. 

Wednesday opened with people with dementia and their carers from DEEP (Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project) and Tide (Together in Dementia Everyday) sharing their unique experiences with us (and inspiring the title of this post). Alzheimer’s International took the stage and shone a light on how informal carers were providing 82 billion hours of support to people living with dementia by 2015, a statistic that still surprises me. This figure is why they believe that both formal and informal carers should be viewed as ‘essential partners in the planning and provision of care in all settings according to the needs and wishes of people with dementia.’ 

The lived experiences of people with dementia and their carers were weaved in throughout the congress as they spoke in the different break-out sessions on various topics including culture, assisted living arrangements, music therapy and spiritual support. One ‘End of Life Care’ session I attended hosted by Hospice UK and Dementia UK opened with a carer explaining why every day care matters to her, and how it maintains the dignity and individuality of a person living with dementia. Subsequently, a dementia care advocate, who has the condition herself shared some of the ways it has changed her life, and how the right care can enable her to live ‘interdependently’ (with support when needed, but a degree of independence remaining). Personally, I don’t think this session could have come at a better time, as my team is currently working on a project around end of life care in care homes. I left with a deeper understanding of why co-production is so important in our project work. 

Finally, one of the many highlights of the congress was hearing Paola Barbarino from Alzheimer’s Disease International highlight the brilliant ways countries all over the world are supporting people living with dementia. Here were 3 of my favourite case studies:

1. China (The Yellow Bracelet Project) 

‘In 2012, the Yellow Bracelet Project was initiated to encourage safety and prevent people with dementia getting lost. Yellow Bracelet has now become a symbol of affection, and continues to attract attention across society’. More here

2. The National Dementia Carers Network (Scotland) 

The National Dementia Carers network in Scotland has been ‘fully involved in Scotland’s two National Dementia Strategies, including work on testing models of community support, improving acute care in hospitals and the monitoring of better support’. More here  

3. LMIC spotlight (Costa Rica) 

Costa Rica was the first LMIC to introduce a dementia plan in 2014. Asociación Costarricense de Alzheimer y otras Demencias Asociadas (ASCADA) works closely with the city council to achieve a Dementia friendly community. More here