Football fans diabetes screening pilot is brainchild of DPC Conference Chair

Dr Mayank Patel & Dr Mike Sadler
Dr Mayank Patel & Dr Mike Sadler

A Premier League football match this month was the scene of a pilot diabetes screening programme conceived by Dr Mike Sadler, DPC’s Conference Chair and a clinical non-executive director at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

At Southampton FC’s February 9th home match against Cardiff City, supporters of both teams were given the opportunity to give a finger prick blood sample to measure their HbA1c levels. Those whose results showed they’re at risk of type 2 diabetes, or likely to have it, were given a letter for their GP, along with advice on the next steps.

The screening was carried out by a team of clinicians, led by Dr Mayank Patel, a consultant in diabetes at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) and a DPC speaker, and nurses from Solent NHS Trust. It was funded by Southampton Hospital Charity and supported by Saints Foundation, and Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation (DRWF).

“It is possible to live undiagnosed with type 2 diabetes for months as it does not always cause symptoms but it can cause internal damage, so the earlier it is diagnosed the sooner treatment can begin,” said Dr Patel.

“We know that many people may be at risk of developing the condition and a large number do not attend testing when called for by their GP, so this is an innovative approach at trying to tackle some of those who may be at increased risk.”

Dr Sadler said: “As far as we’re aware this is the first time screening has been carried out at a football match and it is a chance for people to help their health at the same time as supporting their football team.

“If the pilot is successful, we are hopeful this will lay the foundation for potential screening clinics at football grounds across the country to help tackle what is a significant and growing problem.”
He added: “This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the diabetes team at UHS, Southampton Hospital Charity, Saints Foundation and the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation – a fantastic team effort.”

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