Today, on World Diabetes Day, health commissioners in Sefton are celebrating the success of their local Type 2 diabetes prevention programme, which is helping hundreds of residents to take action to reduce the risk of developing the condition.
Healthier You: the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme was launched in Sefton in January 2017 and offers residents tailored, personalised help and is run from local community venues close to where people live. So far, 900 local residents have joined the course, which offers them advice on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes, which together have proven to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
After only six weeks of being on the programme, 65% of participants have lost an average of 7lbs in weight, benefiting from further weight loss and health improvements as they continue through the 12-month programme.
Roy, aged 68, a south Sefton resident and ‘Healthier You’ participant (right) said: “Since joining the programme eight months ago, I feel much healthier and happier and have lost over half a stone and a few inches off my waist. This hasn’t been too difficult as it’s been about making small changes, such as swapping some foods for healthier options and building in some time for exercise. So now I head for the fruit bowl instead of the biscuit tin and I walk to places when I can.”
Pauline, aged 71, a Southport resident (left) also on the programme said: “Since I started the programme in April, I’ve lost over a stone and my blood sugar levels have come right down and are now normal. I’m taking better care of myself and have more energy to do the things I enjoy. I would definitely recommend the programme to those that might be at risk of developing diabetes – everyone is very friendly and supportive and it’s a great way of meeting people in a similar situation to you.”
Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems and is responsible for 24,000 early deaths in the UK each year. It is one of the most common causes of vision loss and blindness in people of working age and is also responsible for most cases of kidney failure and lower limb amputation (other than accidents).
Dr Nigel Taylor, diabetes lead at NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “We are delighted with the local success of the programme and the difference it makes to people’s risk of developing diabetes. Patients have been so keen to join the programme that the CCGs will be offering more places over the coming months and we will be working with local GPs to identify and invite those patients most at risk of developing the illness. The way it works is that people will be contacted and offered a place on the programme if a recent blood test flags up that they might be at risk.”
Dr Doug Callow, diabetes lead at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “If you do receive a letter I would urge you to take up the programme. This involves weekly sessions for the first seven weeks, followed by four review sessions spread over the following nine months.
“If you are reading this thinking you may be at risk of Type 2 Diabetes, do speak to your GP about this as a blood test can clarify and you may be eligible to join the programme.”
Commissioned by NHS England, in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and Diabetes UK, Sefton’s Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme was one of the first programmes to launch nationally and will be available in all areas of the country by April 2018. Currently managed by NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, the programme is delivered locally by Living Well Taking Control.
Every year, Type 2 diabetes costs the NHS £8.8 billion, which equates to almost 9% of its budget and there are currently 5 million people in England at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. If current trends persist, one in three people will be obese by 2034 and one in ten will develop Type 2 diabetes. However, evidence exists which shows that many cases of Type 2 diabetes are preventable.
Type 2 Diabetes is largely caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise and being overweight, and these are the areas which the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme supports people with.
To find out more about the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention programme, please visit https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/qual-clin-lead/diabetes-prevention/
To find out more about the Living Well Taking Control programme being delivered in south Sefton, Southport and Formby see www.lwtcsupport.co.uk