DPC Day 1
This is the standard ‘my first impressions’ blog about attending the Professional Conference. I appreciate it’s probably a bit cliché, but hopefully it adds context to the rest of what you read about the conference. Blogs on specific sessions will follow throughout the week (and probably into next week too).
No matter who you talk to, how much past experience you try and take on board, nothing can really prepare you for how BIG the Diabetes UK Professional Conference (DPC) is.
I felt like I’d had the benefit of a gentle lead into the chaos, having spent the day before the DPC at the Young Diabetologist & Endocrinologist Forum, running a couple of workshops with Kelly (@DiabeticQueen1) on what it’s really like to live with an insulin pump (I’ll save that for another time). I’d had a day to get my bearings for the most part and I’d been through the session planner a week in advance so I had a good idea of what I wanted to see.
But DPC is BIG. There’s over 3000 people at the conference, many of them great leaders in their fields, others desperate to hear them speak, even if it’s just for a short time. Typically, there’s six sessions running concurrently with a few coffee breaks sprinkled in throughout the day in the huge exhibition room. It sounds chaotic but it’s not. It’s busy, but it’s an incredibly well-oiled machine.
Having hunted down our badges for the week, we piled into the main auditorium for the first round of lectures. At this point it’s worth explaining how the day is split up – it sounds like overkill (and it’s a bit long to read here), but I think the context is important…
There’s roughly four big time blocks per day, each between 60 and 90 minutes long, each with an overarching theme. There are six rooms that each run one of those time blocks concurrently. And each time block contains two or three lectures. That means in any given day, you’re likely to hear 10-12 individual talks across a variety of topics. The 2016 Programme is here if you’re more of a visual person.
For the first day, I tried to split between things I had some interest in (it makes it easier to try and understand/write about), and things I felt were of a wider appeal. Day 1 consisted of 14 individual talks:
Opening Plenary lecture session
- The Relative Effectiveness of Pumps over MDI and Structured Education (REPOSE) – Simon Heller
- Peptide Immunotherapy for Type 1 Diabetes – Colin Dayan
- Exercise for beta cell preservation in Type 1 diabetes: The Exercise for Type One Diabetes (EXTOD) trial – Rob Andrews and Parth Nardendran
Multidisciplinary approaches to managing admissions for DKA session
- A combined diabetes case manager and mental health approach for supporting people with multiple hyperglycaemic admissions – David Simmons
- The role of emotional wellbeing in DKA and one care pathway approach – Kirsty MacLennan
- Walking the tightrope of hyperglycaemia: education is not enough – Clare Shaban
Diabetes education: reaching the masses session
- Taking Control campaign – Bridget Turner
- Making the case for diabetes education – Charles Gostling, Helen Hopkinson, Alison White
- Getting people there – Vivien Coates, Anne Scott
- Adding options to the education menu – Sarah Newall, Rebecca Owen, Kingshuk Pal
- Addressing specific local barriers – Tahseen Chowdhury, Seonaid Morrison
What’s new in hypoglycaemia session
- Cardiovascular effects of hypoglycaemia – Simon Heller
- Evidence based pathway for the management of problematic hypoglycaemia – Pratik Choudhary
- Mary MacKinnon Lecture
- West Hampshire Community Diabetes Service: re-commissioning community services and beyond – Kate Frayers
Fourteen talks across five broad subjects is a lot of information to take in. I feel incredibly lucky to be here at the conference (and to have had the opportunity to speak for a few minutes within the Taking Control session) but it takes a lot of brain power to be on the go all the time. Hopefully those of you following me (@BroomOwl) or the hashtag (#DPC16) on Twitter have got some sense of the huge amount of information being shared. So back to the day…
The conference centre is big and you often find yourself rushing from one session into another, trying to grab a coffee on the way if you’re lucky enough. The exhibition hall is where people tend to gravitate between sessions, though I’ll confess I’ve not actually taken a close look at anything there yet.
What really struck me was the mix of passion and knowledge on show, as well as the desire to make overwhelming change to the lives of people with diabetes. That sounds a bit obvious really, but the sheer number of people devoting their time outside seeing patients to research, service changes and sharing best practice is really incredible. It’s inspiring as a person with diabetes, I imagine as a healthcare professional it’s very motivating.
I’m writing this in the hotel bar at the end of the first day, reflecting back on what feels like a week’s worth of information I’ve had shoved into my head within the space of eight hours. I’m trying to pick a favourite session, but it’s genuinely difficult. I’ll freely admit some of them were very fast paced, and whilst I got the main messages from some, I couldn’t explain the research to you well enough. Some (like REPOSE which I was a part of), were personally important to me, others, like the whole DKA session gave me something entirely new to think about.
Perhaps the one that struck the biggest chord with me was the education session. REPOSE had shown in the morning that people using insulin pumps do no better than people on multiple daily injections (MDI) when proper high quality education is given. The afternoon session showed that there were a huge group of committed individuals across the UK looking to deliver that message out to as many people as possible. I’ll follow that up in a separate blog.
Thanks for reading my opening post, and thanks if you’re following along on Twitter. Hopefully you’ll understand that a huge post on each lecture (or even session) is a bit impractical. I’ll try and do one in detail and summarise some of the others along the way.