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diabetes preventionMarch 18 2015

A new national programme to prevent diabetes has been launched in England.

Initially, seven demonstrator sites will target 10,000 people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), but when the scheme is rolled out nationally, the aim is to “significantly reduce” the number of people with type 2 diabetes - without action being taken, it is estimated there could be four million people with type 2 diabetes by 2025.

The National NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is described as the “first ever at-scale” scheme and is a joint initiative between NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK. It has been established based on findings from overseas studies involving intensive lifestyle-change programme interventions which have seen 30-60% reductions of type 2 diabetes incidence over three years in adults at high risk.

PHE Chief Executive Duncan Selbie said: “This innovative programme is putting ‘evidence into action’ on the ground. Despite type 2 diabetes being largely preventable, 2.5million people in England already have the disease with another 9.6m at high risk of developing it and this cannot be ignored.”

In the initial phase, the ‘demonstrator’ sites will see more patients, monitor and test their local programmes to help co-design and implement the national programme. Local schemes will include health promotion 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,” says NHS England.

“These sites will be supplemented with a national framework procurement for these prevention services, and a Prior Information Notice will be issued this month to formally notify potential providers about this.”

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “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.

“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.

The seven initial phase ‘demonstrator’ sites are:

•    Birmingham South and Central CCG
•    Bradford City CCG
•    Durham County Council
•    Herefordshire CCG/LA
•    Medway CCG/LA
•    Salford CCG/LA
•    Southwark Council and CCG

A report from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry issued on the same day as the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme was issued, says that there is a confused picture for diabetes care.

Research from the independent market research firm ComRes has prompted the ABPI to say: “Frontline NHS doctors and nurses believe that a combination of cost-cutting measures and a perceived lack of local and national leadership are contributing to poor outcomes for diabetes patients.”

The ABPI is also critical of draft NICE proposals on updating its guidelines on diabetes. Suzie Collett, Director of Policy, Communications and External Affairs at MSD and Chair of the ABPI Pharmaceutical Diabetes Initiative, said: “[The ABPI report] ‘A Diabetes Snapshot’ indicates GPs are already facing major issues dealing with this condition. This matters because keeping the growing number of diabetes patients well is not just good for them, it also saves costly acute hospital care.

“The draft guidelines produced by NICE unfortunately outline a short-sighted approach, ignoring and restricting the use of modern therapies, just at the moment where the NHS needs to get on top of diabetes care at every level.”

Links:

NHS England announcement   

Diabetes UK comment    

ABPI announcement    

ABPI report    

Practice News

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