John Morris Diabetes Centre to hold consumer forum

CONSUMER FOCUS: Michael Banks (front) with (back from left) Shannon Jonson, Wendy Blackberry, Sam Beattie and Jo Saunders.
CONSUMER FOCUS: Michael Banks (front) with (back from left) Shannon Jonson, Wendy Blackberry, Sam Beattie and Jo Saunders.

The John Morris Diabetes Centre will this month seek guidance from its most influential stakeholder - the consumer.

Young people aged 18 to 30 with any form of diabetes are invited to attend a forum designed to shape elements of the service.

It is part of a co-design program the JMDC project team has adopted in collaboration with New Zealand health education facility Ko Awatea.

Speaking during National Diabetes Week, JMDC acting manager Sam Beattie said the project team chose to partner with young adults because of the high level of diabetes distress within the demographic.

“It’s about finding a way to walk with a young adult so they stay safe and healthy,” she said.

“There is so much change within those young adult years, in terms of growth and experience.

“It can be a really turbulent time, so to be able to keep someone with diabetes safe during that journey is our goal.

“There are 121 people we have had contact with that are part of the young adult age group, but we rarely see them.”

The co-design program incorporates a consumer reference group, which includes volunteers who use the service. 

Launceston’s Michael Banks is the first community member to contribute to the group, and also forms part of the co-design project committee.

The 32-year-old engineer, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was four, described the program as “a huge step in the right direction”.

“The main outcome I see from this is a more effective service,” he said.

“There are barriers for someone in their mid 20s when it comes to engaging in support services, but this allows the people who aren’t turning up to have a voice.

“From asking how best to meet their needs, you not only get the engagement, but you also become more efficient at what engage with them.”

The forum will be held at the Northern Integrated Care Service in Frankland Street, Launceston on Tuesday, July 31 from 5.30pm.