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Leicester is home to the UK’s first Diabetes Specialist Midwife (Technology)

Cathy Campbell joins PRC Leicester team

PRC: Leicester is excited to announce a new member of our team, Cathy Campbell, who is the first Diabetes Specialist Midwife (Technology) in the UK!

Cathy has worked as a midwife for 10 years, predominantly in Northern Ireland. In 2019, she decided to train to become a Diabetes Specialist Practitioner. However, at the end of her two years of training, she found that there were no roles available in Northern Ireland that specifically called for a Diabetes Specialist Midwife, so she decided to look further afield.

Cathy made the daunting decision to move to Leicester, a city she had never even visited before, to join the diabetes midwifery team at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL). Cathy says: “It was terrifying to move to a new place at first. Initially, I went home every weekend because I knew no one here! I soon got to know people in Leicester and met my other half. He’s English so now I'm going to be here for a while!”

Recently, after two years with the midwifery team, Cathy moved into a new role where she splits her time between maternity, the PRC: Leicester research team and the clinical diabetes team.

Professor Claire Meek, who leads the diabetes in pregnancy service, said: “We are very privileged to have the benefit of Cathy’s expertise in diabetes technology supporting both the clinical service and our research. She is an asset to our team.”

This innovative split role, created by the Leicester Diabetes Centre (LDC) which houses PRC: Leicester, in partnership with the UHL diabetes team, allows Cathy to provide continuity of care for women with type 1 diabetes who are pregnant or planning pregnancy. She supports women starting Hybrid Closed-Loop (HCL) therapy and then manages their care throughout pregnancy alongside the multidisciplinary maternity team. Cathy is implementing the latest evidence from the recent AiDAPT study, which showed that ‘With increased use of HCL technology during pregnancy, outcomes for women with diabetes should improve.’*

Cathy is excited about the rollout of HCL therapy for both pregnant and non-pregnant people with diabetes. She adds: “It will be a busy few years rolling out the technology but in 2017 continuous glucose monitors became available for people with type 1 diabetes and now they are standard care. In five or six years, HCL therapy is likely to be the standard of care for all people with type 1 diabetes. The maternity team are innovative and have a real can-do attitude when new guidelines come out of research.”

Cathy says that this ability to support women throughout pregnancy is one of the many advantages of her split role. She explains: “We know that, particularly in maternity, regardless of risk factors, continuity of care is beneficial. People using maternity services will have the Diabetes Midwifery team as a point of contact instead of trying to get through to a helpline. This goes for staff as well; they will also have a point of contact to ask specific diabetes-related questions.”

Speaking about her role and how it fits with the clinical side of her role, Cathy explains: “Everyone is really friendly and helpful. It doesn’t matter what level people are at, everyone is kind to each other. One of the benefits of research is that you have time to learn and can discuss ways to improve clinical care. Working in the LDC has definitely given me new career opportunities.”

Although there were challenges with moving to a completely new city Cathy feels that coming to Leicester to take the Diabetes Midwife role was worth it, sharing: “My favourite part across all of it is getting to physically see the women and provide continuity. At the end of the day, I am still a midwife and when you work in diabetes midwifery you can end up focusing on educating the women about diabetes but not getting to do the standard aspects of midwifery. Because of the continuity, I get to know the mums and I love that. A few ladies have delivered their babies and then sent me photos of their babies, it’s lovely!”

When asked how she feels about being the first Diabetes Technology Midwife nationally Cathy responded: “It still feels very surreal! I thought initially that there must be another hospital trust that has this role but there isn’t!”