The first ever national NHS diabetes prevention programme has been announced for England by two government arms-length bodies.
The programme, a joint initiative between NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK, was launched today at the charity’s annual conference.
“This is a real step change in terms of highlighting the seriousness with which type 2 diabetes is viewed”
Those behind the move hope it could replicate “at scale” overseas trials showing a 30-60% reductions in type 2 diabetes incidence 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 planned to follow.
Seven innovative “demonstrator” sites around the country have been chosen to take part in the initial phase of the programme. They include clinical commissioning groups in Birmingham, Bradford, Herefordshire, Medway, Salford and Southwark. The other nominated site will be run by Durham County Council.
“It’s time for the NHS to start practising what we preach”
The local schemes being planned by the sites include drives on weight loss, physical activity, cooking and nutrition, peer support plus telephone and online support from clinicians.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “It’s time for the NHS to start practising what we preach.
“The NHS already spends an estimated £10bn a year on potentially avoidable illnesses, and the human toll is more than 100 amputations a week and around 20,000 early deaths every year,” he said.
“Yet for over a decade we’ve known that obesity prevention cuts diabetes and saves lives. If these results were from a pill we’d doubtless be popping it, but instead this programme succeeds by supporting people to lose weight, exercise and eat better,” said Mr Stevens.
“So today we commit to becoming the most successful country on the planet at implementing this evidence-based national diabetes prevention programme,” he added.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “This is a real step change in terms of highlighting the seriousness with which type 2 diabetes is viewed and we feel 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,” he added.