The Big Interview questions – Toby Baker
Toby Baker is event director of Diabetes Professional Care (DPC), the largest conference for healthcare professionals with an interest in the field of diabetes.
The free-to-attend and CPD accredited event is once again, set to take place in Olympia, London in November.
Here he tells The Diabetes Times how he became involved in working on DPC and what visitors can expect from the annual event this year. Connect with DPC on Twitter at @diabetespc or using the hashtag #DPC2018.
How did you become involved with Diabetes Professional Care?
I had previously worked with Maggie on another event that she had launched some years before and had come to a point in my career where I wanted to do something different. Got in touch with Maggie in May 2015 and she invited me to join her and the team in launching the first ever DPC event! I’ve worked on the show ever since and enjoyed being instrumental in its growth.
What are the main objectives of Diabetes Professional Care?
I think that, as an organisation, we are really clear on our goals. The ultimate goal is to improve care and outcomes for people who are affected by diabetes and its related conditions. Enabling us to achieve this are a couple of key factors.
Number one is that the event is inclusive, and easy to attend. For us, that means a free event that is open to the huge range of professionals from many healthcare settings, levels of experience and specialism. I think that, in the past, there has been a real lack of recognition, on the part of all stakeholders, for the crucial role that ‘non-diabetes specialist’ HCPs who come into contact with and are responsible for people with diabetes on a regular basis.
From the outset, we wanted to provide healthcare professionals with much needed access to education and information that is delivered in a format which they can use straight away in the healthcare setting that they’re based. The delivery of complex data and science, whilst hugely important to underpinning care and treatment, is not of direct relevance and importance to the majority of HCPs who really need opportunities to develop practical, real-world skills and knowledge to help them on the front-line of care when they are caring for people.
What can delegates expect from this year’s conference?
I’m really excited for this year as, once again, we’ve added a number of new features and elements to the event which I think will really enhance the learning opportunities and sharing of best-practice among our visitors and for their teams in practice. Visitors can look forward to a number of really special sessions which will run as double length slots and will give them new learning opportunities that they can’t get anywhere else.
We’re really pleased with the level of industry support this year too because, without this, we wouldn’t be able to give free-attendance to all.
How much work goes into setting up the event each year and how long does it take to plan?
A lot! We’re a small team running DPC so the planning takes all year. Even before we go on site in November, we’re getting information together and planning. Then when we’re on site, we’re constantly gathering feedback, identifying what went well and how we can do better, talking to our visitors, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors and generally finding out how we can run a better event each year for all our stakeholders. It’s really hard work but we have a great team and we enjoy what we do, because ultimately it’s making a difference to people’s lives!
Is anything new being planned for this year’s event?
Yes. We have always focused on real-world learning and hands on skills at DPC. This year we have some exciting plans to make learning and sharing of best practice easier for our visitors both at DPC and after the show finishes.
We also be making some big announcements after the summer so stay tuned!
What has been DPC’s biggest achievement been so far?
Bringing together over 3,200 visitors from so many different groups under one roof in 2017 – the buzz and atmosphere that people felt at our 2017 show is something you can’t fake and its really encouraging as an organiser to see so many people coming together for positive change and progress. The feedback from our exhibitors, sponsors and visitors was phenomenal – and we want to make 2018 even better.
Why do you think DPC has become the leading event for healthcare professionals in diabetes?
We take the time to listen to all the stakeholders in our sector including patients, HCPs and industry – this enables us to provide relevant and valuable content to our visitors.
What would your one message to healthcare professionals be?
Come to Diabetes Professional Care even if it’s just for a few hours – whether you’re a diabetes specialist or not, the DPC programme is designed for all and it’s crucial that everyone takes the annual opportunity to attend and share knowledge and experience with their colleagues from around the UK.
Since you have started working with the DPC team have you noticed any changes within the field of diabetes?
I think that generally there has been a lot of change in attitudes and preconceived notions of what diabetes is in its various forms. I think that across the board this has been positive because the more that we talk and share information with each other, the more that can be done to tackle the issues that diabetes and its related conditions present.
One key thing that I have noticed is the real drive to change the way in which people who live with the condition and the HCPs who support them, view their own roles in the care pathway. The more that both sides view this as a partnership, the better the experience and outcomes will be for all! This is what DPC is trying to do!
What does the future hold for diabetes care in the UK?
I think that we’re in a time of change in the way that diabetes and its related conditions are tackled in the UK. There is a desperate need to address co-morbidities and how we can get people working together in partnership to join up care. Also key on our agenda is to address the root causes behind the surge in obesity and, most worrying for me; childhood obesity and T2 in children. I think that easily accessible education for parents, children and healthcare professionals is required now more than ever. So much technology is now there for people at risk of developing diabetes or who already have the condition so we are trying to focus on providing a forum for all stakeholders to get together and help drive adoption of life-changing tech across the UK for all.