March Newsletter 2017


St Helens & District Group

Welcome to tonight`s meeting, we would like to thank Prof Sarah O`Brien, for coming along once again to speak to us! Sarah, who is the interim Clinical Chief Executive of St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), will be talking to us on the subject of Home Blood Glucose monitoring.

Help is available to anyone who has problems with depression, anxiety or stress. Dr Gill Hunt, a Clinical Psychologist from St Helens Hosp spoke to us last month and gave us lots of information about these problems. She mentioned a service called Minds Matter, which St Helens residents can access. It is possible to self-refer for support with these issues, by phoning 01744  647 100, or visiting their website at  Many of us suffer with the above mentioned difficulties, and our first port of call should always be our GP. Knowsley residents can access Knowsley IAPT(Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) by going to or by ringing 0151 430 1707. Liverpool residents can contact LPool IAPT on 0151 228 2300. If you are under the care of the Diabetes Team in St Helens Hospital, you can speak to one of the Drs or nurses about your mood and discuss if it`s appropriate to be referred to Dr Hunt. If anyone has anything that they feel needs to be fed back to Dr Hunt, please email Cherry at and she will forward it to her.

More good news! We recently received an email, informing us that our group of Diabetes UK has been nominated for a DUK Inspire Award for Supporting Others. Apparently this is in recognition of . . .“the invaluable voluntary work that we do for Diabetes UK”! A judging panel will consider all the nominations and decide on a winner for the NW region. We should find out if we were successful or not in the next few months, so watch this space!

Welcome to our new Committee member, We recently asked if anyone would like to help by joining our committee. Many thanks to Paul Hadjikyriacou who has very kindly agreed to do so. Paul was diagnosed with Type 2 Diab in 2014, and been coming to our meetings for about a year.

Please help our local hospitals to reduce the number of patients who do not attend their appointments. This places an enormous strain on the healthcare system in terms of cost and waiting times, and it significantly adds to delays along the patient pathway. In one month alone in 2016, the Diabetes Centre at St Helens Hospital had 95 patients who did not attend their hospital appt and didn`t notify the Dept. This causes considerable financial loss and inefficient use of the time of the Diabetes Centre`s staff. Cancelled appointments can often be used for other patients, so if you don’t need your hospital appointment or need to change the date, please notify them as soon as possible by contacting either the Diabetes Centre on 01744  646 244 or 245 or the appointments Dept on 0151 430 1234​.​

Diabetes UK are currently running a campaign called Taking Control, with the aim of making sure that everyone is given the chance to learn about their diabetes by attending an education course. If you have never attended one, ask your GP or Practice Nurse to refer you on to a local one. For more information you could phone DUK`s Helpine on 0345 123 2399 or email

We all know that living with diabetes, we are responsible for our own day to day care, but we are all entitled to a range of free diabetes checks every year, these are called the 15 Healthcare Essentials. Whatever type of diabetes we have, we need to make sure that we have all of these vital checks annually. Take one of the cards from the front and if you don`t think you are having them all, discuss it with your diabetes healthcare team. The figures regarding the uptake of the checks are improving but there were still at least 12% of people with diabetes who didn't receive an annual urine/blood test to monitor their kidney function, in the results published at the beginning of 2016. The urine test is very important, as having diabetes means we are at increased risk of kidney problems. In the early stages of kidney disease there are usually no symptoms, this is also true of retinopathy and neuropathy (damage to the eyes, legs and feet) so the tests are vital to pick up any changes whilst they can still be treated. If you`re not receiving all the vital checks listed, go to and search for “What to do if you're not receiving your essential checks”. You can also download the DUK guide, “Are You Really Getting Your 15?” This tells you what each check should look like, and has tips for what you can do if they`ve not all been carried out.                                                                                            

How do you dispose of your sharps? The safe method is in a sharps bin, supplied and emptied free of charge by your Local Council. If you live in St Helens you can request the service yourself, by phoning 01744 676789. For Knowsley residents, referral needs to be made by a Healthcare Professional. Ask them to phone 0151 443 2400, on your behalf.

Enjoy Food is a useful new booklet from DUK, it contains recipes, advice and expert diabetes nutritional information. The booklet has been compiled by DUK Clinical Advisors and chefs, using scientific-based evidence. You will find the simple, practical advice very helpful, whether you’re newly diagnosed, or just looking for family-friendly recipes or some healthy mealtime ideas. Help yourself  to a copy from the front and enjoy your food!

Do you ever feel that you should try and get more fit? Both St Helens and Knowsley offer Free Exercise & Lifestyle Referral Programmes which aim to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle. The progs are aimed at inactive adults and are ideal for someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes recently, or even years ago, but wants to get more active and maybe lose weight. There is something for everyone, including Group Based Exercise Sessions, Tai Chi, Gym sessions Weigh In/Support. Advice and guidance are also available on the following health related topics: alcohol, smoking, healthy eating and much more. St Helens courses normally require a referral from your GP or Practice Nurse. For further info, contact the Lifestyle Referral scheme, by going to or by phoning 0300 300 0103. For the Knowsley scheme, it is possible to self refer, simply contact  “Activity For Life” by phoning 0151 443 3109 or go to   

Details of next meeting :

Date . . . . . . . Wednesday 5th April 2017, 7.30pm.

Subject . . . . .  Musculoskeletal problems in diabetes.

Speaker . . . . .  Dr Niall Furlong, Clinical Director of Diabetes, St Helens Hosp.