Retired optometrist puts diabetes technologies under the spotlight in latest Big Interview

By Editor
21st November 2022
Technology, The Big Interview

The evolution of diabetes-related technologies was discussed by a former optometrist in the latest online interview for the Diabetes Times.

Jenny Hirst, Co-Founder of the charity InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT), spoke with DT editor Oliver Jelley about how diabetes technologies have advanced over the years and the barriers associated with these developments.

The pair also looked back on Jenny’s successful ten-year battle against the pharmaceutical industry where she campaigned for people with diabetes to still have access to animal insulin.

She launched the campaign following moves to switch people to genetically engineered insulin, which caused adverse reactions to thousands of people with the condition.

During the interview, they also discussed the problems surrounding the NHS and how Jenny got involved with diabetes.

Jenny has worked tirelessly for people with diabetes since her daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1975, first as a trustee for the British Diabetic Association (now Diabetes UK) and then for IDDT.

IDDT, an international charity based in Northampton, was formed in 1994 and has around 20,000 members.

It works across the globe helping families and people with diabetes to manage their condition and live positive, healthy lives.

The charity provides information booklets and other support, such as unwanted insulin, to help adults and children in developing countries who cannot afford the insulin they need for survival.

Watch this space for more Big Interviews with experts in the field of diabetes.

Comments (3)

  1. Charles Fox says:

    It was a pleasure to see Jenny answering Ollie’s questions with such clarity and conviction. Before setting up IDDT, Jenny worked tirelessly in the BDA to advance the involvement of parents and children within the organisation. In 1987, Jenny was asked by Harry Keen, then chairman of the BDA, to raise money for the UKPDS, which was about to collapse through lack of funds. Jenny was then chairman of the Branches network and she appreciated the value of the UKPDS in shedding light on the importance of good glucose control in Type 2 diabetes. In a matter of months, she had raised the incredible sum of £800,000, mainly from small individual donations but also by persuading the wealthier branches to release money they had put aside for a rainy day. Without this huge injection of cash, Robert Turner, who ran the UKPDS, would have had to make drastic reductions in the scope of the Study. As well as preserving the production of animal insulin, we have to thank Jenny for rescuing the UKPDS.

  2. Derek Beatty says:

    Jenny Hirst MBE, Jenny, In Knowledge, Care for others in Diabetes, sharing helpful information, ‘You are a Legend in Our Time!’ Thank you. Derek C Beatty BSc.

  3. Derek Beatty says:

    Jenny Hirst MBE, Jenny, In knowledge, care, and sharing valuable Diabetes Information ‘You are a Legend in our Time!’ Thank you. Derek Beatty, BSc.

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