Sally Smith was diagnosed with Diabetes in 2018 and says her health really started improving once she joined her local self-help group.
At the latest meeting on Tuesday 26 July at Chilwell Olympia, Sally was one of 18 Broxtowe residents living with diabetes discussing whether the group had made a positive difference. The resounding answer from the room was yes!
Since March 2022, between 15-40 people have been meeting regularly to chat, ask questions and share advice. Self-help and peer-to-peer groups are proven to be an effective way for people living with long-term conditions or specific needs to better manage their own care, maintain independence and improve wellbeing.
Karen Richardson, a Specialist Diabetes Nurse at Primary Integrated Community Services (PICS), and Gareth Dixon, PICS Health and Wellbeing Coach, set up the group. Both Karen and Gareth work across the Nottingham West Primary Care Network.
The aim is that people with lived experiences of diabetes could be more involved in their own care by gaining knowledge from each other and building confidence. They have organised and hosted regular meetings and run workshops and wellbeing sessions.
GP surgeries refer people who have diabetes to the group, or anyone can join in – there are flyers posted on community notice boards and on the internet.
Gareth highlighted how empowering the group is for participants: “We’re actually meeting in August to plan how to move forward, and I’m really excited that members are talking about running the group themselves. That just really shows how worthwhile it is for healthcare professionals to use our networks to set up new groups.
Sally Smith, 67 from Beeston, explains in this three minute video how her GP surgery helped her get involved and the difference it’s made to her: https://youtu.be/vOecPYQ7neY