Inspirational local pharmacists win diabetes award

A man from Swindon has scooped an award from leading charity Diabetes UK as part of a team of trainee pharmacists.

Dexter Fernandes and a group of four fellow pre-registered pharmacists were presented with the Esme Shrapnell Award for Reaching out and Connecting at the 2019 Diabetes UK South West Inspire Awards at the Castle Hotel, Taunton. The award recognises diabetes volunteers who have made great strides in reaching people and communities alongside Diabetes UK.

As part of their training, Dexter and five other young pharmacists, Cameron Pool, Kenneth So, Liam Mcaree, Olivia Rose and Punita Mistry, who also works in the Swindon area, wanted to get involved in a diabetes-related community outreach project. They became Know Your Risk assessors for Diabetes UK and helped members of the public calculate their chance of developing Type 2 diabetes in pharmacies across the south west. At the same time, they raised awareness of the role diet and physical activity can play in preventing the condition. On top of that, they put on a large Know Your Risk event at the Brunel Shopping Centre for World Diabetes Day last November.

During the project, they assessed 44 people, referring 72 per cent to their GP when they were found to be at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Dexter Fernandes, who is currently completing his training at a pharmacy in the Orbital Shopping Park, said, “This was a very interesting project and we were happy to be able to make a difference. It’s so important to help people understand the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is a serious condition, and how they can prevent or delay it. We all found it very fulfilling and this award is just the icing on the cake.”

Phaedra Perry, Diabetes UK South West Regional Head, said: “We were delighted when Dexter Fernandes and his team approached us with their idea for a diabetes outreach project. They understood very clearly the role a pharmacist can play in connecting with lesser-heard communities and were able to reach high-risk individuals who might otherwise have slipped through the net. Our warmest congratulations go to Dexter and his pharmacists’ community group.

“Through our Inspire Awards we thank our hard-working volunteers for their contribution and shine a light on the positive difference they make to the lives of people living with diabetes in the south west.”

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. Around 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2. Family history, age, certain ethnic backgrounds and being overweight are risk factors. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications.

To find out more about volunteering for Diabetes UK in the south west, go to www.diabetes.org.uk/in_your_area/south_west/volunteering or contact [email protected], telephone 01823 44826