Meet the judges

The panel of judges comprises recognised academics, clinicians, patient bloggers, nurses and commissioners working in diabetes.

The judging chairs are Simon O’Neill , Director of Health Intelligence and Professional Liaison, Diabetes UK, Dr Paru King, Consultant Physician, Derby Hospitals and Alison Barnes, Research Associate (dietitian) / Diabetes Specialist Dietitian at Newcastle University/Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

2019 Judges to be Announced

Simon qualified from St Thomas’ Hospital, London as a registered nurse in 1989 and specialised in paediatrics at Guy’s Hospital in 1991. Following several years working in both general and renal paediatrics, he moved to Diabetes UK in 1995 as a nurse care adviser.

Twenty three years later he is still there, although now as Director of Health Intelligence and Professional Liaison. As Director he is responsible for ensuring Diabetes UK produces accurate and up-to-date information and advice on all aspects of diabetes care, based on the latest evidence. Working closely with healthcare professional colleagues, he also advises on the charity’s policies and positions.

He has had type 1 diabetes for 27 years.

Paru has been a Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology in Derby since 2000. Her clinical interests include diabetes and pregnancy and also integrated care. She is the physician lead for the diabetes and obstetrics service, and has clinically led and project managed the award winning PROCEED project, the first integrated service for preconception care.

In 2018, her team was selected as one of 20 quality improvements sites, to further improve preconception care.  She started the National Diabetes and Pregnancy Conference, and has supported its growth into a major annual conference.  In addition, she has been the clinical lead for integrated care in Derby City since 2011, and Derby’s service model has gained national recognition.

Since 2017, Paru has led the spread of this innovation from Derby City to the whole of Southern Derbyshire.  She was one of the first Diabetes UK Clinical Champions, and the role has helped her achieve service development locally as well as given her the opportunity to be involved in her areas of interest at a national level.

Alison Barnes is a UK Registered Dietitian specialising in diabetes and weight management. She has a first class undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition from Northumbria University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics from Leeds Metropolitan University.

Alison is a Research Dietitian currently working with Professor Roy Taylor at Newcastle University on the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), training practice nurses to deliver a complex weight management intervention in a primary care setting. She has an honorary contract as a diabetes dietitian with Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust and has previously worked as an NHS specialist diabetes dietitian for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust, providing regular clinics in primary care and specialist clinics and group education in secondary care. She has also worked on group weight management programmes for both adults and families in community settings.

As a dietitian with Type 1 Diabetes, Alison has an insight into the kinds of challenges faced by people living with long-term conditions, and is committed to an approach which empowers patients to better manage their own health. Alison was selected as one of the Diabetes UK Clinical Champions for 2016-18 and is working on a project to produce a dietary decision aid for type 2 diabetes in order to facilitate more effective discussions about diet and weight between healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes.

Alison can be contacted at

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