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New online service for type 2 diabetes patients to be piloted

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A first of its kind online service for people with type 2 diabetes is set to be piloted later this year, in a bid to help them manage the condition “independently,” NHS England has announced.

The new online programme, which provides evidence-based information and support, will be offered via NHS England across 11 areas of the country by the end of this year, with plans for a national roll out in 2020.

“Access to trusted information and support is key to helping people manage their diabetes”

Jonathan Valabhji

The resource will give patients convenient and quick help to deal with the physical and mental challenges of diabetes through a series of online courses and lifestyle advise, NHS England has said.

It said the move would ensure that the right advice and support is available at the “touch of a button” and can be accessed from home, work or on the move.

The initiative aims to encourage people with type 2 diabetes to manage their health and wellbeing independently and potentially prevent the need for extra medical attention or a patient’s condition worsening.

It comes as part of promises made under the NHS Long Term Plan which aims to help people prevent and manage the condition.

According to NHS England, trials of the new resource showed that by using the online information, people were able to reduce their blood glucose levels.

The trials, which were funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), also demonstrated an improvement in the mental health of people newly diagnosed, noted the government arms’-length body.

The full online package includes educational courses that aim to support lifestyle changes to better manage their condition, as well as information relating to lifestyle choices including diet, exercise and alcohol consumption.

In addition, the online resource also offers support for emotional wellbeing which includes help with managing the distress people can experience when first diagnosed.

“The new online tool being rolled out on the NHS will offer simple advice on diet, exercise and emotional support”

Seema Kennedy

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for diabetes and obesity for NHS England, said: “Access to trusted information and support is key to helping people manage their diabetes and this online tool helps deliver this as part of our Long Term Plan to tackle major conditions and diseases.

“We are living in an increasingly digital age with people managing most aspects of their life online, the rollout of this programme will give people the opportunity to get support for their type 2 diabetes online too,” he said.

Public health minister Seema Kennedy said that via the long-term plan, published in January, the government wanted to provide people with “easy-to-use” digital tools to help take care of their own health.

Ms Kennedy said: “There are millions of people with type 2 diabetes who are at increased risk of heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and ultimately a shorter life.

“This is preventable, and the new online tool being rolled out on the NHS will offer simple advice on diet, exercise and emotional support that could make all the difference,” she said.

“Through our long-term plan for the NHS we want to do more to empower people with easy-to-use digital tools and information to take care of their own health,” she added.

The online resource will be piloted in:

  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  • Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Northamptonshire
  • South East and South West London
  • North West London
  • Cumbria and North East
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate
  • Surrey Heartlands
  • Gloucestershire
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