Published on 16 June 2017

Up to 200,000 could benefit from a programme helping people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to lead healthier lives.

More parts of England are set to be included in a programme that looks to identify people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and encourage healthier lifestyles to prevent new cases of the condition.

NHS England has announced that 13 new areas involved in the programme are now live and ready to offer the NHS prevention programme to people identified at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Nearly 2.5 million adults and children diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes will also benefit from around £42 million of national funding, which will be used to improve care and treatment available to people with diabetes this year.

The funding will focus on improving achievement of the NICE recommended treatment targets for controlling blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol; reducing the number of amputations by improving access to foot care teams in 50 parts of the country; and reducing lengths of hospital stays by improving access to specialist inpatient access in 60 hospitals across England.

The Wave 2 of the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is designed to support people with type 2 diabetes and those at risk of developing the condition, to stay fit, well and prevent further deterioration.

Tailored and personalised help will be offered to people who could be at risk of type 2 diabetes referred on to the programme. This will include education on lifestyle choices like healthy eating and reducing weight through physical exercise programmes and portion control, which together have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the condition.

The programme was officially launched last year with 27 areas covering 26 million people – almost half of the country.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “With more than 18,000 people having already started our diabetes prevention programme, the NHS is doing its bit but this is a battle we cannot win alone.”

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity, said: “Tackling diabetes is one of the biggest healthcare challenges of our time, as the number of people with type 2 diabetes continues to rise. The NHS, along with its partners, is going to great lengths to help keep those with diabetes healthy. It is crucial that we have an integrated approach to tackling not just the prevention of type 2 diabetes but also the successful management of all forms of diabetes and it is essential that we support the spread of evidence based interventions to help reduce the harm that diabetes can cause.”

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, said: “While more people than ever have the condition, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. Our prevention programme is putting people in control of their health –the results from the first year show the programme is already helping thousands of people and reaching those at higher risk.”

The latest figures showed that the programme has been making good progress, with just under 50,000 people referred in Wave 1 and more than 18,000 on the programme at the end of April. This exceeded the original target set in the NHS Mandate of 10,000 referrals during 2017/18.

Wave 2 areas will cover another 25% of the population, with an estimated 130,000 referrals and up to 50,000 additional places made available thanks to the expansion. Funding has also been agreed for another 12 months in the 27 sites currently up and running.

The ambition is for the programme to eventually cover the whole of the country and these figures could rise to as many as 200,000 referrals and more than 80,000 people on programmes by 2018/19.

Early reports on the success of the programme were positive and suggested that just under half of those taking up the programme are men – a much higher proportion that traditional weight loss programmes, while roughly a quarter of people are from BAME (British, black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities.

Find out more about the Wave 2 of the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme

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