NHS England has announced that thousands of people are set to access diabetes and obesity prevention services through the touch of a button following the launch of the digital stream of the diabetes prevention programme. Dr Amar Ali, GP lead for Diabetes for Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire, explains more.
Over the last five years we can see that there has been an increase in numbers of diabetes diagnosis. The projections for the future are exponential and studies have shown that the progression to diabetes can be averted for many, if changes are made at an earlier stage.
Diabetes has serious implications, not only on the health and wellbeing of the people who develop it, but also on NHS resources. We need to deal with the huge numbers of patients at risk of developing diabetes in a more proactive way.
Blackburn with Darwen is one of the areas involved with the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme digital pilot.
Today’s announcement is a great step forward in engaging with individuals digitally. It’s good to see NHS England expanding its reach to attract the tech savvy population who find they’re short of time or that they simply prefer to do things online, because it works better for them. It’s brilliant as we’re tapping into more people who can take advantage of the help and support being offered. For patients who are working and have a busy home and family life, managing health conditions online are much more attractive than having to spend time away at class room type education sessions. Accessing this service online allows them to move at a pace they are comfortable with at a time that suits them best.
We are also having early success with NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) face to face sessions, with a large uptake attending sessions. We anticipate this will grow even more with the roll out of the digital pilot. Over 16,000 people are at risk of developing diabetes in Blackburn with Darwen, so we want to do as much as we can to bring those numbers down.
Offering the programme online will open it up to more people and make it more accessible, thus given the NHS DPP wider appeal. For patients the digital pilot opens up a more convenient and accessible platform. Content can be reviewed at their own pace and when they have time. It’s hoped it will increase overall activity and allow people to take charge of a potential life changing disease.
Keeping well for longer will ease pressure on already very busy NHS services, outcomes for our area will get better and people will have a better quality of life. Most importantly, in time this should show a lower incidence of diabetes in the area than the current rate of progression.