An everyday trip to their local pharmacy, turned out to be a life changing visit for a mother and her son thanks to the observant work of the community pharmacist.

Michelle Duffy and her son Cameron, from Garrison, had called in to the Melvin Pharmacy in the village to get their passport photos taken but while there, pharmacist Siobhan McNulty noticed a change in Cameron's appearance.

"Siobhan noticed Cameron's weightloss and asked him what had he been doing," explained Michelle. "He told her he had been drinking a lot of water. She then asked how much water and we reckoned it was around 4/5 litres a day.

"You could see the concern in her face as she then asked him, why all the water?

"He then told her he was always thirsty. This led to a series of questions, and tiredness also being a big factor. She asked could she check his blood sugar. He said no and I took him home, got him to step on the scales to discover he was 2.5 stone lighter than he had been back at the start of the school year.

"I convinced him to come back down where Siobhan tested his blood sugar and was alarmed to discover it was 24.9."

A normal blood sugar reading is usually between four and seven mmol/L.

Siobhan rang the local GP who advised they go straight to hospital.

Cameron spent the next five nights in the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) as he and his family began adjusting to his new life with Type 1 Diabetes.

"We spent five nights in the SWAH adjusting to our new life of blood sugar monitoring, insulin injections and learning how to manage life outside the hospital.

"The team were fantastic and honestly I didn't want to leave as the fear of coping at home alone was a similar fear to leaving the hospital with a new born baby.

"Almost three weeks after Cameron's diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes we are feeling much stronger. The initial shock is very hard to deal with but with each day we are getting better at every aspect of handing the diabetes, we are learning more every day.

"We have been lucky and Cameron has spoken to people with Diabetes and they have assured him this will never stop him doing anything in life he wants to do as long as he looks after himself."

The quick observations made by Siobhan helped Cameron and his family get a grip on his diabetes from an early stage, something Michelle is hugely thankful for.

"I feel very grateful that Siobhan picked up on Cameron's symptoms, As a parent I had noticed the weightloss and the tiredness but put it down to him having started Year 8 in St. Michael's as he's away from 7.35am in the morning and he's a very active kid playing a lot of sports. But I suppose I never thought in a million years that Cameron had Type 1 Diabetes. And in fairness probably wouldn't even have really known the symptoms to look out for.

"I have no doubt that if I had not been in with Siobhan who knows us, this would not have been picked up."

With Community Pharmacies facing mounting pressure due to issues such as underfunding and staff shortages, this shows the vital role they play in their local communities and the brilliant care they provide under such difficult circumstances.