British professor still leading the way in diabetes and frailty research

By Editor
18th August 2023
Good practice, Older people

An internationally recognised researcher in the field of diabetes and frailty says his age won’t stop him from working to improve the lives of older people living with the condition.

Professor Alan Sinclair is still leading the way in diabetes research for older people, despite being in his early 70s.

The global researcher is a WHO recognised expert in diabetes, older people and frailty, as well as the chair of the Foundation for Diabetes Research in Older People (fDROP).

He is also the chair of the National Advisory Panel for Care Home Diabetes (NAPCHD) chair – a group which was set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to develop a strategic guideline to enhance care home diabetes.

As part of the NAPCHD, Professor Sinclair has collaborated with Care England to ensure care home staff are provided with the right guidance on how to look after residents with diabetes.

Professor Sinclair said: “Despite widespread recognition of the importance of this work, as well as multiagency working and key stakeholder involvement, evidence of advisory consultation with the Care Quality Commission and Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB), NHS England has not officially supported this work from the NAPCHD which is disappointing.”

His appointment in 2012 to be the National Clinical Lead for Diabetes in Older People at the former NHS Diabetes led him to establish the Older People Diabetes Network (OPDN), whose next meeting is scheduled for the North of England in early 2024.

The 2014 IDOP and ABCD care home diabetes audit was also a landmark moment for Professor Sinclair as it showed many shortcomings in the quality of diabetes care being delivered and the need for change.

This year, the 71-year-old, as chair of the EDWPOP (European Diabetes Working Party for Older People) has produced primary care diabetes guidelines across Europe with the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society (EuGMS), which has contributed to his international reputation in the field.

This work has involved key collaborators from the UK including Sri Bellary from Birmingham and Anguss Forbes from King’s in London.

Professor Sinclair is still publishing at a high level and has made a major contribution to a recent article on diabetes technology in older people which is now live in the ADA journal, Diabetes Care.

His work on metabolic phenotyping in diabetes subjects with frailty which is a collaboration with Ahmed Abdelhafiz in South Yorkshire is particularly promising.

His latest role is Chair of the 2025 IDF Atlas special interest group where he has assembled a leading group of experts to make a substantial contribution to the Atlas in just over a year.

Professor Sinclair said: “I look back with immense pride on my various journeys in medicine. The challenges were great, but so were the rewards.

“Every breakthrough has been a stepping stone towards improving the lives of those who are often overlooked.”

He added: “Yet, even as I reflect on what I’ve accomplished, I am driven by the knowledge that there is still much more to achieve.

“The path ahead is as exciting as the path behind, and I am eager to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible.”

For more information about Professor Sinclair, click here.

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