First National Diabetes Prevention Programme Launched

by Barbara Hewitt on March 13, 2015

The first even national diabetes prevention programme has been launched in the UK which aims to reduce the four million people expected to have type 2 diabetes by 2025.

A joint initiative between the NHS, Public Health in England and charity Diabetes UK hopes to save tens of thousands of lives in the future and save millions of pounds.

UKmapIt is estimated that a big proportion of type 2 diabetes could be prevented, and England will be the first country to implement a national evidence based diabetes prevention programme on this scale.

Well-designed randomised controlled trials in Finland, the United States, Japan, China and India show 30% to 60% reductions in type 2 diabetes incidence over three years in adults at high risk through intensive lifestyle change programme interventions.

The new NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme will initially target up to 10,000 people at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with national roll-out thereafter. Seven innovative ‘demonstrator’ sites around the country have been chosen to take part in the initial phase of the programme during which they will see more patients, monitor and test their local programmes help co-design and implement the national programme.

These schemes in Birmingham South and Central, Bradford, Durham, Herefordshire, Medway, Salford and Southwark in London will include drives on weight loss, physical activity, cooking and nutrition, peer support plus telephone and on line support from trained professionals.

The diabetes ‘demonstrator’ sites will test innovative ways to pinpoint those people who have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes including for example via the NHS Health Check. In Bradford, for example, they have a programme to target everyone who is South Asian and aged 25 plus.

‘Despite type 2 diabetes being largely preventable, 2.5 million people in England already have the disease with another 9.6 million at high risk of developing it. Our review of international evidence will soon be published, providing us with the basis for developing this programme and ensuring it provides real results in addressing the growing burden of preventable type 2 diabetes,’ said PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie.

‘Making this investment now will enable us to reach thousands of people over the next 12 months, helping them to avoid or delay type 2 diabetes, and when this is rolled out nationwide the results could be even more spectacular. This is a major step forward in giving people at risk the best possible chance to avoid a condition that can lead to serious complications such as blindness, stroke and amputation,’ said Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK.

‘The early intervention approach of the programme will also bring about huge savings for the NHS budget, reducing spend on treating people who, without this programme, would be living with type 2 diabetes and the subsequent health complications which are also a major element of NHS costs and pressures on beds and staff,’ she pointed out.

‘This programme reflects a recognition of the seriousness of type 2 diabetes and the threat it poses to the nation’s health and to the NHS. This prevention programme is hugely significant. We hope this will also send a clear message that still more needs to be done going forward to help people lead healthy lifestyles from the beginning to the ends of their lives,’ she added.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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