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From Oz with Love: ‘Diabetes and Emotional Health’ crosses the world to the UK!

The launch of the Diabetes UK adaptation of an important resource for health professionals

By Rosie Walker [1]


6th March 2019 saw an important step towards supporting the emotional well-being of adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the UK. On that day, Diabetes UK launched its new Diabetes and Emotional Health – a Practical Guide for healthcare professionals [2], inspired by and adapted from the original Diabetes Australia / NDSS* Diabetes and Emotional Health Handbook and Toolkit [3], published in 2016.

The launch was a prominent part of the Diabetes UK Professional Conference [4] in Liverpool, UK (#dukpc [5]) and was attended by over 100 health professionals – quite a feat for a session scheduled alongside at least 5 others running at the same time – and testimony to the enthusiasm and appetite from UK HCPs for more information and guidance on this important area of diabetes care. It’s fair to say that those of us who had been tasked with the Guide’s UK incarnation were delighted! We were additionally pretty relieved to find that the representatives of the Australian original authors, Dr Christel Hendrieckx [6] and Prof Jane Speight [7], not only liked but thoroughly approved of what we had done with their opus magna. In turn, we were moved to hear that both felt quite emotional themselves to see this evolution of their work, as Christel presented their experience with the original during the launch.

The new UK edition is hosted on Diabetes UK’s website [2] and is fully online, rather than being available in hard copy like the Australian edition. However, a complete PDF version [8] can be downloaded, so it can be read, just like a book, on any device.  The design has been converted to Diabetes UK’s distinctive branding and the content has been adapted to reflect UK health services, language and culture, wherever needed. This has been a very light touch, however, as the vast majority of the content, and the topics covered, remains relevant to people with diabetes whether they be in Australia or the UK. The saying ‘there is much more similarity than difference in the world’ applies as much to diabetes as to any other context.Screen Shot 2019-03-21 at 2.55.48 pm.png

The UK expert team invited by Diabetes UK to adapt the Handbook include myself (Rosie Walker [1]), an independent diabetes educator and former diabetes specialist nurse; Prof Jackie Sturt [9], Professor of Behavioural Medicine in Nursing at King’s College London; Dr Nicole de Zoysa [10], Senior Clinical Psychologist at King’s College Hospital; Dr Jen Bateman [11], Clinical Psychologist working independently, and; Dr Mark Davies, Clinical Psychologist at Belfast City Hospital. All of us have expertise and academic interest in diabetes and emotional health and all have worked previously with Diabetes UK to promote this aspect of diabetes care. Starting in March 2018, we formed a tight and extremely hard-working team to review the content with a fine toothcomb and collaborate on the adaptation with the Diabetes UK Clinical Advisory, design and IT teams – and just about got it finished with hours to spare before the launch one year later!

Within hours of the launch on 6th March, we heard there had been over 100 downloads of the PDF and there had been more than 750 hits on the webpages. Since then a flurry of activity has publicised its existence which we have vowed to continue as a team to spread the word even further. More importantly, the UK Practical Guide will form a central plank in Diabetes UK’s forthcoming emotional health campaign in 2019.  We think that it’s safe to say this content is much needed and much valued by all involved in its development, adaptation and by those who will benefit from its use (both clinicians and people with diabetes).

I don’t think it’s possible to put into words exactly what it feels like to be entrusted with a piece of important work that matters so much to the original authors, to effectively ‘make our own’. Apart from the obvious joy in a successful collaboration across the waters of the world, this has been as much a personal journey of people who care passionately about a similar aspect of diabetes life, and we are all enriched by it. With the UK Practical Guide as the outcome, we will in turn enrich our colleagues. Thank you Oz – and, from the UK, with love back!!

*The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is an initiative of the Australian Government administered with the assistance of Diabetes Australia

Check out our other blogs related to emotional health here [12].