Loss of ‘driving force’ in diabetes care

Diabetes sufferer Mary MacKinnon, from Sheffield
Diabetes sufferer Mary MacKinnon, from Sheffield

Tribute was paid this week to Mary MacKinnon, a “driving force” behind improved care for diabetes patients in Sheffield and across the country, who has died 67.

As a nurse, she worked tirelessly for 30 years to help people with diabetes manage their condition and designed and ran diabetes programmes for healthcare providers.

Having diagnosed her own diabetes in 1999, she lived to see the new Diabetes Education Centre at the Northern General named after her, while the charity Diabetes UK has long had an annual lecture in her name.

Mary, who lived in Dore, lectured at Sheffield and Warwick Universities visited more than 12 countries to pass on her expertise, committed to the philosophy of ‘whole-person care’. She worked with the Department of Health, the International Diabetes Federation and World Health Organisation and published many books and papers.

“She was a wonderful person who a tremendous relationship with nurses and patients,” said Prof John Ward, retired professor of diabetic medicine, who will reflect on her career at a memorial service at St John’s Church, Ranmoor, on Saturday at 2pm, after private cremation.

“She spent her working life thinking about people with diabetes. She was a driving force. She was extremely well read and spoke well and related well to other people.

“She was respected tremendously. She had more affection from staff than many, many doctors and nurses.”

Trained at St George’s Hospital in London, Mary carried on working, despite being diagnosed with lung cancer about a year ago.

She died on November 9 and leaves husband Ewen and sons Alistair and Duncan.