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Press Release

NHS Diabetes calls on hospital staff to 'Do the course. Save a life.'

Issued: 8 May 2012

This week NHS Diabetes is launching a new eye catching and hard hitting poster campaign to promote its safe use of insulin e-learning training to NHS hospital staff in England. The campaign calls on staff to ‘Do the course. Save a life’. Every hospital trust in England has been sent a resource pack containing posters for staff areas, a USB stick packed with background information, and pens and sticky notes all designed to encourage staff to complete the free online training.

Insulin errors are serious and can kill. Safe use of insulin training is mandatory for all staff who prescribe, prepare or administer insulin. The campaign highlights key facts to NHS staff:

  • 1 in 5 patients on an inpatient ward has diabetes[1]
  • Around 4 in 10 inpatients with diabetes experience a medication error [1]
  • Since 2003 insulin errors have led to over 17,000 safety incidents[2]
Anna Morton, Director of NHS Diabetes said: "We are calling on diabetes teams in hospitals to promote the safe use of insulin e-learning course and encourage their non- diabetes colleagues to sign up for and complete the training. Over 75,000 frontline NHS staff have now registered for the training but to really reduce insulin errors we need to ensure all NHS staff who prescribe, prepare or administer insulin are appropriately trained. Together we can bring down the numbers of avoidable errors and ensure inpatients with diabetes receive the best possible care."

Poster packs will arrive with diabetes teams from next week. The launch of the campaign coincides with the launch of new figures on diabetes inpatient mortality which will be released next week. Improving insulin safety is one way to reduce harm to patients staying in hospital.

[1] National Patient Safety Agency 2010 Rapid Response Report [2] National Diabetes Inpatient Audit 2010: bedside clinical data collected from 12,191 inpatients at 206 acute hospitals.


For further information contact Lucy Betterton on 07747 865 562 or

Notes to editors

  1. More information on the NHS Diabetes safety work programme is available at
  2. NHS Diabetes is working to transform diabetes care across the NHS. It plays a vital role in improving services and quality of care and has one simple but crucial aim; to embed safe, cost-effective evidence-based examples of ‘what works’ leading to better outcomes for patients and efficient use of NHS resources. Further information about our work is available at
  3. Samples of the posters are shown below

[Editor's Note: The e-learning course is available at the NHS Diabetes website at Safe use of insulin. Larger versions of each poster can be accessed by clicking on the following thumbnails.]

NHS Diabetes poster 1: About 1 in 5 of your patients have diabetes NHS Diabetes poster 2: 4 in 10 diabetes patients have a medication error NHS Diabetes poster 3: Insulin Errors Can Kill

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From NHS Diabetes

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