Serving People with Diabetes Since 1967
Diabetes Ireland is a national charity dedicated to helping people with diabetes. We achieve this by providing Support, Education, and Motivation to our community. Diabetes Ireland also raises public awareness of diabetes and its symptoms and supports, and funds research related to the causes, prevention, and cure of diabetes.
In 1957 efforts were made to get a diabetes charity off the ground. However, it wasn’t until 1967 that the momentum was established for the charity to become a reality. Over 750 people attended the first public meeting of the Irish Diabetic Association (now Diabetes Ireland) in Dublin.
One of its first goals and major successes was to obtain free medication for all people with diabetes in 1971. Today, that success still holds in that every person in Ireland diagnosed with diabetes can obtain free diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol medications under the Long-Term Illness scheme. Diabetes is one of only 16 conditions listed under the scheme saving every person with diabetes thousands of euros each year.
Since then each year our organisation has gone from strength to strength as we identify and achieve annual goals. We have grown to become a strong and unified voice in advocating for better services for those with diabetes and influencing health policy in this area. The purchase of a state-of-the-art headquarters in Santry in 2013 considerably broadened our scope, enabling us to offer services directly to thousands of people with diabetes each year. The opening of a second Care Centre in Cork further strengthened our position in the community.
With our comprehensive support services, education programmes, health promotion initiatives, advocacy programmes, members’ magazines,s and other activities, we constantly strive to provide what our members need to optimally manage their diabetes. Today, our Aims are:
- to provide support, education, and motivation to people with diabetes, their families, and friends.
- to raise awareness of diabetes in the community and foster programmes for early detection and prevention of diabetes complications and its burden.
- to support and encourage advances in diabetes care and research that improves Quality of Life and Standards of Care.
Living with diabetes is not easy! However, with the right help, advice, and support, there is no reason why people with diabetes cannot live life to the full. This is our goal. Each year through our patient education and information services we provide that care and support to thousands of Irish people with diabetes and their families when needed most.
- Provide support and information to people with diabetes and their families via our Diabetes Helpline (01 8428118) Mon-Fri 9 am-5 pm.
- Provide information via our website (www.diabetes.ie), social media, literature, and our magazine “Diabetes Ireland” which is delivered directly to members.
- Deliver regular “Diabetes Education” webinars and online programmes with practical information around the challenges of living with diabetes.
- Deliver our Type 2 diabetes structured education programme (CODE) to people living with Type 2 diabetes.
- Provide preventative podiatry (footcare) services in our Care Centres in Dublin and Cork. The HSE’s Diabetic Retinopathy Screening programme is also based in both centres.
- Provide a virtual Counselling service (one-to-one) to people living with diabetes and their families.
- Advocate and influence public policy for improvements in public diabetes services nationwide and quicker access to new medications and technology that will help people with diabetes to improve the daily management of their condition.
- Provide advice on all aspects of insurance cover including mortgage protection, travel, and access to our private motor insurance scheme and anti-discrimination advice.
- Deliver a wide range of health promotion initiatives to increase awareness of diabetes including school awareness, workplace awareness, early detection, and prevention initiatives.
- Provide diabetes awareness and prevention education for public and private service providers caring for people with diabetes in Residential and Day Care settings.
- Provide support for children with diabetes and their families through our Sweetpea Kidz Club for children aged 2-10 years, teenage activities, family weekends, and parent workshops as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Provide professional support to healthcare professionals via annual multi-disciplinary conferences, practice support packs, and our Diabetes & Cardiology Professional magazine.
- Promote, support, and fund research related to the causes, prevention, and cure of diabetes via our subsidiary charity Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance.
What did we achieve in 2021
During 2021, Diabetes Ireland continued to provide its services to the diabetes community ensuring that thousands of people continued to receive education, support, and motivation to maintain good management of their condition in these difficult times.
Likewise, the continuing support of our members and the diabetes community has helped Diabetes Ireland enormously in maintaining our services and for this, we are extremely grateful.
To support Diabetes Ireland, become a member today.
Advocacy was the main priority of Diabetes Ireland in 2021. Our aim is to see improved public services, better and quicker access to good quality of care, diabetes technology and medications, and better recognition of diabetes and the diabetes community by the Government and its public officials. Work is continuously ongoing to achieve improvements that will benefit the diabetes community.
Diabetes Ireland launched its first-ever 2022 Pre-budget submission in the summer of 2021 which proposed 8 immediate actions for implementation which will improve the quality of life for over 225,000 people living with diabetes and reduce the long-term costs of preventable diabetes complications.
The submission focused on a range of deliverable actions that are person-centered, cost-effective, and build on existing HSE commitments to tackle chronic conditions including diabetes.
We campaigned to highlight the needs of the diabetes community by meeting with TDs and Senators and encouraged people to submit Parliamentary Questions to their TDs on one or more of the 8 issues in question. To read the proposed actions, click here.
Diabetes Ireland Advocacy Committee used personal messaging across all communication channels and media to drive the importance of these 8 key actions, gaining an exceptional reach of over 104,000 people. TDs submitted over 330 parliamentary questions to the Minister for Health on the various issues.
Access to Flash Glucose Monitoring Technology
Diabetes Ireland was asked by the HSE (MMP) to make a Patient Health Technology Assessment submission for the Freestyle Libre so that people of all ages, including people with Type 2 diabetes, can get access based on clinical need. Dr Kate Gajewska, Clinical Manager for Advocacy and Research with Diabetes Ireland, with support from members of our Advocacy Group developed a survey questionnaire to ascertain the view of people with diabetes which was launched in November 2021. The responses will be evaluated, and a report will be submitted to the HSE in early 2022. Diabetes Ireland is hopeful that a positive decision will be made in favour of access for all based on clinical need.
Another priority was to ensure we continued to offer excellent support and services to people with diabetes and their families. In 2021, we aimed to deliver services to people with diabetes and their families by increasing the awareness of diabetes and encouraging them to make positive lifestyle changes.
Throughout the period, Diabetes Ireland continued to support people with diabetes by ensuring that our diabetes helpline, online, and social media channels remained open for anyone seeking help, support, and up-to-date information on COVID 19 and practical diabetes management information. Our helpline saw a substantial increase in calls in 2021, with just under 5,700 contacting our helpline and a further 26,000 people receiving ongoing updates via our social media channels.
With more people than ever seeking information online, we continued to enhance our website to provide more practical day-to-day information for living well with the condition.
Type 2 Structured Education Programme Went Virtual
Diabetes Ireland continued to provide virtual CODE programmes in 2021 delivering 29 programmes to 310 people. Feedback was extremely positive with participants enjoying the easy access from home. To register for CODE, click here.
Providing Free PPE for our Community Healthcare Diabetes Specialists
In partnership with Novo Nordisk, Diabetes Ireland continued to help and ensure that community-based diabetes healthcare professionals could continue to safely provide much-needed appointments to people with diabetes ensuring that risk exposure was very much reduced for everyone by providing free PPE each month.
Teacher and SNA Diabetes Education & Awareness
Diabetes Ireland focused on children with diabetes and their families in 2021. Our ‘Back to School’ awareness campaign was launched in August 2021, which aims to help teachers, SNA’s, parents, and diabetes teams with the transition for children with diabetes heading back to school. A ‘Teacher and SNA Training Day’ was held in conjunction with the paediatric diabetes in Cork University Hospital for individual schools in the area.
A new HSE booklet will be launched in 2022 ‘Meeting the Care Needs of Primary School Children with Type 1 Diabetes during School Hours’. More information is available to parents, teachers, schools, and SNA’s on our website, click here
A new education campaign – ‘THINK DIABETES’ – was in conjunction with the Irish Childhood National Diabetes Register to raise awareness of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, to encourage earlier presentation to the GP, and to reduce the frequency of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) among our community. The campaign encouraged young parents, young adults, and grandparents to educate themselves on the signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes and to come forward for TESTing and receive early treatment. The campaign was a huge success, reaching over 2 million people across Ireland. To read more about the campaign and learn about Type 1 diabetes, click here.
GO BLUE for World Diabetes Day
Catherine Brady Supports Diabetes Ireland on World Diabetes Day
Kickboxing Champion Catherine Brady and Diabetes Ireland Dietician Sinead Powell featured on Newstalk for the Pat Kenny show to discuss the highs and lows of living with Type 1 diabetes and asked listeners to ‘go blue’ to show support for World Diabetes Day 2021. Catherine, who has Type 1 diabetes, urged people to closely monitor their health and to contact a healthcare professional with any health concerns they may have.
Some of our 2021 service highlights in numbers were:
- 5,692 people contacted our Diabetes Helpline in 2021.
- 38.5% of callers sought information on diabetes management
- 45% sought information and support in accessing services.
- 2.5% sought specific information on advocacy
- 1.5% on insurance
- 12.5% seeking information on a range of other issues.
The helpline team dealt directly with 85% of callers with 15% requiring referral to one of our healthcare professionals or to another agency.
- 5,600 people attended our podiatry (footcare) services in Dublin and Cork, 76% of whom live with diabetes.
- Our Diabetes Ireland/HSE High-Risk Footcare Service provided a further 4,016 appointments in Waterford, Wexford, and Carlow in 2021.
- Each day around 100 people with diabetes attend their Diabetic RetinaScreen appointment in our Care Centres.
Website & Social Media
- 169,200 visitors accessed www.diabetes.ie, spending an average of 2 minutes on the site.
- 5,088 visitors completed our Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment online with over 2,970 (58%) classified as either high or moderate risk.
- 11,346 visitors accessed our “Sugar Smart” microsite which offers simple tips in reducing overconsumption of free sugars in a variety of daily lifestyles.
- 26,316 people follow Diabetes on our range of social media platforms, an increase of 13% year on year. Follower reach and engagement levels are increasing year on year.
Health Promotion & Events
- 310 people with Type 2 diabetes attended our virtual CODE education programmes in 2021, an increase from 2020. The development of the online CODE meant more people could attend as they were accessing from home, including more young people.
- 4,952 visitors to diabetes.ie completed “Diabetes Smart”, our online interactive educational programme. The Diabetes Smart programme is based on the principles of CODE for use by GPs and people at risk and/or diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Work on updating the programme was also undertaken in 2021 with plans to launch a newly updated programme in early 2022.
- 6 Education Webinars for people living with diabetes and their families all of which were very well attended were held throughout 2021.
- 10 Webinars successfully hosted for healthcare professionals supporting adults and children living with diabetes. Our Pregnancy Conference highlighted the need for effective pre-conception planning and pregnancy care for women with diabetes and Gestational diabetes.
- 10 Emotional Wellbeing virtual workshops held for Parents of Children & Adolescents living with Type 1 Diabetes.
- 25 Carers Education Programme sessions delivered to the staff of Nursing Homes, Residential Homes, and Intellectual Disability Centres.
Our mission is to provide a quality service in improving the lives of people affected by diabetes and working with others to prevent and cure diabetes. Each year, we are one step closer to achieving this goal. Over the next five years, Diabetes Ireland will work to drive funding for improved access to care, education, and support in a meaningful way for all people living with diabetes across Ireland. We hope to build positive relationships and collaboration with those who share our mission to provide high-quality and equitable service for the diabetes community. To do this, we need the ongoing support of people with diabetes, their families, and our corporate partners. In November 2021, our members adopted a new 5-year strategy for 2022 – 2026.
To read the Diabetes Ireland 2022-2026 Strategy, click here.
We need your Support
There are many ways to support Diabetes Ireland and this year more than any other we need the 267,000 people who make up the strong diabetes community to support the charity and help us make the difference.
Our goal is to support, educate and motivate the diabetes community. The charity needs your personal support to do that. Saying that we cannot express enough our appreciation of the ongoing support we receive from fundraisers, healthcare professionals, members, employees, corporate supporters, and the HSE for helping us help our community. We must all continue to work together for the Diabetes Community in Ireland so we can all live a long and healthy life. So take the first step, become a member so we can mutually support each other and our community.
During the year, Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance with multidisciplinary research teams, academic students, and professional clinicians all working towards improved outcomes for people with diabetes. Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance collaborated in research study applications, provided guidance on expert panels, secured funding for new projects, fast-tracked recruitment processes when appropriate in an endeavor to move Irish diabetes research forward, and put funding towards both an Irish-based and a UK based research project.
Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland
Diabetes Ireland has a responsibility to provide and follow a code of good practice when it comes to how our organisation is run. We are fully compliant with the Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland. The Governance Code is based on five main principles and Diabetes Ireland is committed to adhering to these principles. Our signed statement is available to view here.
For more information on the Governance Code, please see: https://www.charitiesregulator.ie/en/information-for-charities/charities-governance-code
Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising
Diabetes Ireland is committed to complying with the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising. The Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising is a guide to best practice developed by a steering group set up in response to the Charities Act 2009. To read more about our commitment to achieving the standards contained within the Statement for Guiding Principles for Fundraising here. (https://www.charitiesinstituteireland.ie/guidelines)
As well as maintaining current services, we are committed to growing our services long into the future. Looking forward to 2022-2026, a new 5-year strategy for Diabetes Ireland was recently launched, which will take us forward in the new world of today. However, this is only possible if we continuously generate the income required to deliver our services and support. To read Diabetes Ireland 2022-2026 Strategy, click here.