Empowering Frontline Healthcare
  • Leadership

Empowering Frontline Healthcare

Diabetes UK and Ashridge Executive Education develop clinical champions to make change happen

Tuesday 18 July 2017


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Diabetes UK and Ashridge Executive Education, in collaboration with Novo Nordisk who provide support and funding, have been awarded the coveted 2017 EFMD Excellence in Practice (EiP) Gold Award. The award was given for the creation of The Diabetes UK Clinical Champions initiative, an innovative change program which empowers those on the frontline of diabetes care.

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“The NHS is currently unprepared and under resourced to meet the sharp rise of diabetes and is struggling to meet patient needs.” Dr Ryan D’Costa – Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology, Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust.

With the number of people living with diabetes in the UK almost doubling in the last ten years, to 4.5million, putting immense strain on already stretched health and social-care services, and with much-publicised low levels of morale in the NHS, meeting patient needs has seemed an impossible dream.

The Diabetes UK Clinical Champions initiative is a brave and exciting attempt to make the dream reality, despite inadequate resources. In order to make the changes which will lead to real improvements for people living with diabetes, healthcare professionals, in partnership with Diabetes UK and Ashridge Executive Education, have joined forces in this crusade to build the leadership capability and confront the underlying systemic challenges needed to deliver exemplary diabetes care.

Understanding that change must come from within, the program “galvanises and empowers diabetes specialists into action” to address inadequacies in skills and knowledge, and to reduce dangerous mistakes, bad decisions, and instances of unnecessary serious health complications for people living with diabetes

This has been achieved through:

  • Healthcare professionals stepping into voluntary leadership roles, regardless of position/conventional hierarchy or personal gain
  • Creating a new role of Clinical Champion and giving power to those at the frontline of diabetes care
  • Thinking creatively and boldly about failings/risks and designing around these
  • Learning what is stopping change from happening rather than focusing on change theory or learning for learning’s sake
  • Utilising the combined expertise, connections and resources of all partners to increase the success of evidence-based change.

The openness, honesty and respect for each other’s unique contribution, that characterises this powerful change program, is putting the needs of people living with diabetes first. Consequently, the program has not only achieved undoubted ROI, but by challenging the scepticism around public and private partnerships, it has had an unanticipated impact on the wider world of policy-making, and commissioning.

Chris Askew, Chief Executive Diabetes UK welcomed the EFMD award, saying: “For all involved in this initiative there has been the sense of being part of something bigger. A movement. Fighting for diabetes healthcare, addressing underlying challenges and raising awareness of the condition. This accolade helps us enormously with these ambitions and recognises the hard work of so many of our unsung healthcare heroes.”

Bjorn Bengtsson, President, Ashridge Executive Education commented: “This is another fantastic result for our team, demonstrating our ted:belief and commitment to pushing forward the boundaries of leadership and organization development, along with our focus on making a difference where it really matters.”

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The EFMD Excellence in Practice Awards (EiP) recognise outstanding and impactful Learning & Development partnerships in the domains of Leadership, Professional, Talent and Organisation Development.

Hult Ashridge Executive Education helps organizations around the world improve their leadership talent, strategic thinking and organizational culture.

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