Interview with Maggie Meer, DPC’s Founder
When and why did you launch DPC?
I launched DPC in 2015. As someone with type 2 diabetes, I’d become frustrated with the non-joined up way in which my care was managed. I saw a desperate need to give healthcare professionals – from all areas of healthcare, not just diabetes specialists – the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skillset, to help them care for people with diabetes.
My professional background included launching and running events, so I decided to help solve the problem myself rather than wait for somebody else to do it! I researched the diabetes market and developed relationships with HCPs who shared my vision – and the result was DPC.
What has been your greatest achievement with DPC?
The show’s continued growth – last year’s event attracted a record 3,235 visitors and we’re set to see well over 4,000 HCPs through the doors this year. This reassures me that the effort my team and I, and our sponsors and supporters, put in to DPC is worth it – that we really are helping to bridge the gap for accessible education for doctors, nurses, GPs, dieticians, educators, and other HCPs involved in diabetes care.
What do you think is the key to DPC’s success?
Remaining true to our vision of ultimately helping to improve the lives of people with diabetes, by helping to educate and support those HCPs who care for them, and help them to manage their own condition. The focus of DPC’s conference, workshops and special feature areas has always been on real-world learning and practical skills development, and we’ve continued to attract the most experienced and knowledgeable people in diabetes care, to speak and share their expertise.
Also, through the support of our sponsors and exhibitors, we’ve been able to keep DPC free to attend from the start. So it remains accessible and inclusive for a broad spectrum of HCPs, irrespective of their experience or specialism.
Finally, our visitors frequently talk about the buzz, networking opportunities and peer support at DPC. The show brings together a diverse spectrum of HCPs, in one place, where they not only learn from the best in the field, but also share knowledge and best practice with each other.
What are the highlights of DPC2018?
There are so many reasons to attend this year’s show! But four of my top picks are:
- Diabetes is spiralling out of control, and patients are still not receiving enough of the education and support they need to understand and manage their condition, so they increase their risk of developing a number of serious complications. There’s an urgent need to raise awareness of these potentially life-threatening conditions among HCPs. So we’ve increased our focus on diabetes co-morbidities at DPC2018, by extending this stream to both days of the show, with a special focus on mental health and wellbeing, diabetic retinopathy, cardiovascular disease and renal disease.
I’m delighted that the Diabetes Co-morbidities stream will include the exclusive UK launch of outcomes data from a large study on the impact of SGLT2 inhibitors on type 2 diabetes patients with high CV risk. These findings will be presented by Professor John Wilding, who is Professor of Medicine and Honorary Consultant Physician, Obesity and Endocrinology Research, at the University of Liverpool.
- With the extremely worrying growth in diagnoses of type 2 diabetes among young people, there is an urgent need to target this demographic. I strongly believe education about weight, health and exercise needs to start a lot earlier. So we have a strong emphasis on this issue at DPC2018 – for example, the topic of our Live Debate is ‘Preventing childhood obesity – whose responsibility? Policymakers, professionals, family environments or technology?’ This will bring together four experts, including Keith Vaz, MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes, for what promises to be a lively and hard hitting discussion, and I hope visitors will join us to have their say on this vital issue.
- I appreciate that HCPs are under considerable time pressure when talking with and caring for people with diabetes, so we’ve also introduced at DPC2018 a series of sessions to help them develop their consultation skills. This will include a special, hour-long session from Dr Kevin Fernando, a GP with special interest in diabetes at North Berwick Health Centre, on ‘Diabetes management pearls – life hacks to help you help people with diabetes’.
- Finally, with growing evidence that type 2 diabetes remission is now a reality, I’m very pleased that Dr David Unwin, the Low Carb GP – who has seen diabetes remission on a weekly basis in his surgery, by helping his patients to cut out sugar and refined carbohydrates – will share his insights and experiences at his presentation on ‘Type 2 diabetes drug-free remission: hope for primary care’, on the first day of DPC2018.