Fareham doctor horrified after Type 2 diabetes diagnosis - and joins practice's Weight Watchers scheme

Vicki Rowe-Shawyer
Vicki Rowe-Shawyer
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A DOCTOR advising patients on how to keep healthy has had to have a taste of his own medicine after a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

Often the pressures of juggling a busy work and family life can lead to unhealthy life choices – something Dr Donal Collins, a GP at The Highlands Practice in Fareham, found started happening to him.

He said: ‘About 18 months ago I was involved heavily in a lot of work and a key bit of the work was about preventing disease.

‘However during this time my personal activity reduced, my diet was poor as I would eat between meetings or on the go.  A time came when I noticed increasing lethargy which I put down to ageing and working hard.’

Recognising he wasn’t feeling 100 per cent, Dr Collins had some blood tests done and to his horror was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

He said: ‘I was mortified. How could I have let this happen?

‘A GP telling others how not to get ill and I managed to do it to myself. So I decided I had to change.’

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The doctor got involved in a free WW (formerly Weight Watchers) 12-week membership after receptionist Vicki Rowe-Shawyer signed the practice up last year when she got help from the scheme herself.

In February 2018, Vicki had a high BMI (Body Mass Index) and took up a weekly Parkrun and focused on losing weight through the WW scheme.

The practice started its own WW group and now has around 140 members – with the group losing a combined 283 stone in the first nine months.

Members also participate in a weekly Parkrun including Dr Collins who has now lost 12kg of weight and lowered his blood sugar levels.

He added: ‘Vicki has truly inspired colleagues and patients at the practice to get fitter and lead healthier lives.

‘I feel more alive and look forward with hope.’

Vicki has been shortlisted for the ‘Extended Practice Team Member’ category in the 2019 General Practice Awards.

Practice manager Amanda Gray said Vicki had shown ‘true leadership through inspiring others’ to help patients lead healthier lives.

The Highlands Practice initiative is supported by Hampshire County Council which funds the WW programme.