A pioneering doctor at one of our partner NHS Trusts has been awarded more than £7,000 to fund a new project aimed at protecting diabetics in deprived communities from Covid-19.

Dr Tim Robbins, pictured, is receiving the cash injection from the Covid-19 Action Fund launched by national charity the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

Dr Robbins, who works at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, is following up research showing that diabetics are at greater risk from Covid-19 and the danger increases if they come from a deprived background or community.

He will use the grant to monitor the health and wellbeing of people who fall into these categories by using technology to accurately monitor their blood sugar while also checking their mental health.

Dr Robbins has led work to issue digital glucose sensors for diabetic in-patients with Covid-19 - allowing much closer monitoring than the usual finger-prick tests, so that they can be treated with the right healthcare support.

So far, this work has only been possible in hospital settings but Dr Robbins will use the grant to expand it into hard-to-reach and high-risk populations after hospital discharge.

Extending the scheme is important because the mental and physical impacts of Covid-19 will last longer in such populations and may widen already existing health inequalities.

Announcing the grant, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust said: “Tim will engage further with these communities, focussing not only on blood-sugar control but also on mental health needs. He will develop and demonstrate the effectiveness of such a model via his NHS Trust with the aim that it could be rolled out more widely.”

Dr Robbins is one of 21 people who have been awarded grants totalling more than £150,000 through the fund, which is aimed at combating the effects of Covid-19 on healthcare and areas of UK life.

The projects range from preventing domestic abuse, housing rough sleepers and educating children in care to expanding food production, providing trauma therapy for key workers and supporting BAME (black and ethnic minority) families bereaved by Covid-19.

Trust Chairman Jeremy Soames, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, in whose memory the Churchill Fellowship was founded, said: “In today’s urgent situation, the Churchill Fellows' contribution to the national effort is remarkable. They are proven experts in their fields, working on the frontline and making an impact where it is most needed.

"I believe my grandfather would have been immensely proud of what today's Churchill Fellows are achieving in his name, during the greatest challenge our nation has faced since the war.”

Churchill Fellows are UK citizens from all walks of life who are chosen each year to find solutions to pressing problems in every area of society,

Each of this year’s recipients will receive an average grant of £7,370 through the charity.

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