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11 Oct 2021

A message from the DPC Conference Chair – Dr David Strain

“We have missed the all-important interaction – the simple chance to sit down over coffee and say: ‘How did you deal with…?’”

It is this interaction and sharing of ideas that DPC Chair Dr Strain says he is most looking forward to with the welcome return of the first face-to-face DPC conference in two years. After 18 months of online meetings and Teams calls, Dr Strain says bringing people together again to share best practice and examine the latest research and guidance on diabetes care is the first step to approaching the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

“The last two years has seen unprecedented pressures on the primary, community and secondary care systems, and while the focus has been – rightly – on dealing with the pandemic, we have not been able to deliver the service that we would have wished to all of our patients with long-term diabetes,” he said.

“Nationally we have seen HbA1c measurements reduced by about two-thirds; 60,000 people will have developed diabetes but will have not yet been diagnosed; and our existing patients have suffered from periods of isolation, lack of social interaction and activity, and are likely to be returning to us with higher blood pressure, more adverse lipid profiles and poorer glycaemic control.” 

A packed programme of keynote speeches, workshops and panel discussions will address these concerns at DPC2021, and Dr Strain said safety measures will be in place to help delegates feel confident in attending and making the most of the first large-scale event of its kind since the pandemic.

He said: “Two years after the last large, in-person get together at DPC 2019, I am proud to be part of the first, free to attend educational event in diabetes since. We have gone to every effort to ensure safety. There will be more space, better ventilation, and we will be operating a Covid-19 entry policy.

''The conference will be divided up into a number of topic areas: The diabetes MDT, diabetes through the ages, heart and kidney clinic, nursing in diabetes, ABCD theatre, technology and innovation zone and workshops.

“There are several ‘must see’ key sessions,” said Dr Strain. “The traditional Opening Keynote from Jonathan Valahbji and Partha Kar will help set the scene for the diabetes recovery programme. The pandemic has highlighted that health inequalities not only exist but are rife in the NHS. Join the debate panel to discuss why this occurs and how we can help address this – if you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

“There are great opportunities to discuss complexities at both ends of the age spectrum, with the ABCD theatre hosting a symposium on the complexity of diabetes in younger patients, while the diabetes MDT theatre will consider the complexities around diabetes and frailty. As there will be limited space in some of the lecture theatres, there will be plenty of opportunity to work through polypharmacy, health economics, eye and foot disease, injection techniques and the use of some of the new technology that will be launched at this event in the multiple small group workshops – a new venture to foster the small group engagement that we have missed. 

“The final recommendation for the show, and the one I am most looking forward to, is the last session on the Thursday – Your Questions Answered.  Throughout the DPC virtual series, these have always been my favourite episodes. All of your burning questions, collected through the whole two days, will be put to our panel of experts – no script, no slides, just an opportunity to get those questions answered, anything from what is the right HbA1c for a frail nursing home resident, to how do we reach the complex younger patients who have not had access to technology, internet or basic appointments for the last two years.”

Dr Strain will be part of the following sessions:

- Chair: Practical tips for managing diabetes in the vulnerable in care and nursing homes – 4.25pm on 10 & 11 November
- Chair: Workshop – COVID-19: Vaccines and hesitancy, Long COVID and diabetes – 10.10am 10 & 11 November
- Speaker: Workshop – A dummy’s guide to health economics – 2.30pm 10 & 11 November

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