NHS Chief pledges help for 50,000 more people to tackle rising diabetes levels

50,000 more people at risk of Type 2 diabetes will be offered tailored support to avoid the potentially life-threatening condition.

In an expansion of a pioneering NHS programme, tens of thousands of people will be offered education and lifestyle coaching to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes.

This forms part of a package of new measures to curb diabetes pledged by the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens. This includes funding more specialist nurses, providing diabetic foot care teams and a major evaluation of how digital technology such as apps and wearable technology could provide bespoke and easy-to-access support to many millions more people at risk.

Type 2 diabetes can cause serious health issues including amputation, blindness and kidney failure. In some cases people with the condition can develop life-threatening complications such as heart disease. It is estimated that diabetes costs the NHS 9.8 billion a year.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive at NHS England, said: “The NHS is now upping its game on prevention, helping 50,000 high risk individuals stave off type 2 diabetes.

“But unless we also take back control of our own health, 2017 is going to mean another 200,000 people getting obesity-related Type 2 diabetes. It doesn’t have to be that way – small lifestyle changes prevent large life-altering health problems. Eating a bit less and losing five to ten pounds is far more useful than an unused gym membership or wildly ambitious New Year’s resolution.

“As parents now’s the time of year to think about what we want for our children in the year ahead. Coming on the heels of new figures showing that nine in ten of us can’t now recognise when our kids are overweight, we’re going to need a bit more ‘tough love’ so that every day of the year isn’t a Christmas-like splurge on supersized fizzy drinks and junk food.”

The full package of measures announced today includes:

  • £15m to support further roll out of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme – the world’s first nationwide programme to stop people developing Type 2 diabetes.
  • Up to 50,000 places will be made available in an expansion of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme over the next two years across 13 new areas in addition to funding a second year in the 27 sites currently up and running.
  • Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is run collaboratively by NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK, and providers are now in place in 27 parts of England covering around 45 to 50 per cent of the population of England.

The programme will support 100,000 people a year across the whole country by 2020 through tailored, personalised help to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes including education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes, all of which have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

£45 million available for local NHS (Clinical Commissioning Groups) to invest in the treatment and care of people with diabetes including education programmes

Working with GP practices to help more patients meet NICE recommended treatment targets.

Improved care for people with diabetic foot disease by introducing new multidisciplinary foot care teams where these do not already exist, or expanding existing services.

Improved care for people with diabetes in hospital by ensuring access to inpatient diabetes specialist nurse teams when required – introducing such teams where they do not already exist, or expanding existing services.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity, said: “Diabetes prevention and patient care is a top priority for the NHS. Today we can announce significant extra investment that will provide support for millions more people across England who are living with the condition and helping those at high risk of developing it to reduce their chances of doing so.”

Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Everyday, around 65 people with diabetes die before their time. This is why it’s so important we invest in preventing Type 2 diabetes and improve care for people who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

“We want this money to transform NHS care so that millions of people currently living with diabetes get the right support to manage their condition and avoid devastating complications such as blindness and amputations.”

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of PHE, said: “We should all be worried that the number of people with Type 2 diabetes is still on the rise.  Preventing it is one of the big health challenges of our time. We need to get the message across that diabetes is not an inevitable part of ageing and we can control what happens to our health.

“Making changes to our diets, especially cutting down on snacks high in sugar and saturated fat, and taking regular exercise is often all people need to do to avoid potentially devastating consequences to their long term health.”