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Issue 129 Autumn 2018

Endocrinologist > Autumn 2018 > Features

The YDEF: striving for a better diabetes future

Wui Hang Cheung | Features

The Young Diabetologists and Endocrinologists’ Forum (YDEF) is the trainee and young consultants’ wing of Diabetes UK. It serves three core functions: education, communication and representation. Our work is also supported by the Society for Endocrinology and the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists. Our mission is to enable high quality care for people with diabetes by delivering excellence in diabetes specialist education, and providing an effective voice for young diabetologists and endocrinologists.

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The YDEF Committee is made up of specialist trainees from a diverse background of clinical, academic, education and management experience, to comprehensively represent our trainees’ needs and viewpoints. This has been our principle since the inception of the YDEF. For instance, our team members currently include dedicated research fellows, chief registrars, quality and improvement fellows, specialist educationists, experts in patient, public and social media engagement, and advocates for trainees’ well-being.


Each year, the YDEF provides established events across the country to support our trainees’ educational needs, complementing our national specialist training curriculum.

The YDEF Annual Day, our main event during the Diabetes UK Professional Conference, continues to be a popular, resourceful experience for our trainees. The theme this year was diabetes healthcare transformation and variation, with the aim of inspiring and empowering trainees to reduce inequalities in care.

Our other educational events remain consistently in demand:

  • the Insulin Pump Course offers practical hands-on experience, with the opportunity to try and become comfortable with a range of different insulin pumps
  • the Retinopathy Course offers the invaluable experience of participating in one of the country’s most renowned retinopathy screening centres
  • others include the Diabetic Foot Course and the Motivational Interview Course, to name a few.

We also collaborate with the DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating; Central Office, offering yearly scholarships to support trainees to attain qualifications in structural education for patients with type 1 diabetes.


The YDEF proactively encourages research training. With the generous support of charities and pharmaceutical organisations, we regularly sponsor trainees to attend major conferences such as the Diabetes UK Professional Conference and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meetings, to present their work, exchange ideas, and acquire knowledge at the forefront of diabetic care.

Another regular feature of the YDEF is our North Europe Young Diabetologists research meeting. This brings together young researchers from Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK to present and discuss their research in a relaxed setting, to showcase their projects and gain feedback, as well as to develop international collaborations.


The YDEF has recognised that building a good foundation based on knowledge, motivation and aspiration is of paramount importance for continuing professional development. In June this year, we launched our ABC of D&E Course, designed to be a foundation course for all new specialist trainees in diabetes and endocrinology. The course provides a supportive, non-judgmental, relaxed environment for trainees early in their careers to identify and discuss the gaps in their current knowledge, to receive mentoring from our faculty consultants either formally (in group sessions) or informally (over coffee, beer and wine!), and to explore their potential subspecialty interest for the later part of their training.

We have also relentlessly strived for better national training provision for our specialist trainees. Over the last year, we have undertaken two important surveys: our Trainee Well-being Survey, and our Variations in Training Survey.

The Trainee Well-being Survey demonstrated that many of our specialist trainees experience physical and psychological burnout. An over-burdening workload in general medicine service provision and lack of exposure to diabetes specialty training opportunities were identified as the key contributory factors.

The Variations in Training Survey identified significant variations in specialty training programme structures across the country. Some regions offer their trainees up to 2 years of training dedicated to the diabetes and endocrinology subspecialty, whereas trainees in other regions did not have any such tailored and protected training opportunities.


In recent years, the YDEF has collaborated closely with the Society for Endocrinology’s Early Career Steering Group in recognising the importance of reintegrating diabetology and endocrinology right from the beginning of our early career paths.

We have jointly taken part in many of our successful education events, including our YDEF Annual Day during Diabetes UK Professional Conferences, Society for Endocrinology specialist registrar training events, and our ‘Keep your career sweet’ first National Diabetes and Endocrinology Taster Day.

In addition, we also work hand-in-hand in developing, shaping and reshaping our national specialist training curriculum and education framework, contributing to decision-making processes with stakeholders including Health Education England, the Royal College of Physicians (and its Specialty Advisory Committee in Diabetes and Endocrinology) and the British Medical Association, representing our diabetologist and endocrinologist trainees’ needs and viewpoints in a united front.

If you would like to learn more about the YDEF and our work, to find out about becoming a member, or are interested in joining our committee, please visit our website at

Wui Hang Cheung, Endocrinology & Diabetes SpR, North Middlesex University Hospital; Treasurer, YDEF

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