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The number of Diabetics in our country is on the rise, with over 200,000 new diagnoses every year.
Type 2 Diabetes, which accounts for 90% of Diabetes cases, is heavily associated with obesity and is largely preventable. It has devastating complications, including blindness, amputation and stroke. Diabetes costs the NHS almost £10 billion annually – nearly a tenth of our total budget – equating to around £1 million an hour.
This is not sustainable.
The only way we can build a sustainable NHS is through a Triple Prevention approach – focusing on the health of patients, staff and the public, reducing their risk of lifestyle-related disease. Today, we announced a major step towards our first of these priorities, patient-focused prevention.
The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme was launched a year ago – a collaboration between NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK. Its premise was simple – place people at high risk of Type 2 Diabetes on a lifestyle-modification programme, based on robust evidence, to reduce and reverse this risk. We started with seven demonstrator sites across the country to kick-start enrolment and trial innovative approaches to programme delivery.
Now, we are ready to ramp-up and rollout this major initiative. We have identified 27 areas, covering a population of 26 million people, almost half of the country’s population, making 20,000 places available for those at high risk of Diabetes and paving the way for up to 100,000 referrals by 2020. Four organisations have been invited to join the national framework:
- Reed Momenta
- Pulse Healthcare Limited trading as ICS Health and Wellbeing
- Health Exchange CIC
- Ingeus UK Limited
This year the programme will be made available to patients across 27 areas of the country.
This combination of experience, scale, delivery and ambition is set to transform the role of prevention in England.
However, while important, cracking the prevention puzzle will take more than just the Diabetes Prevention Programme, but rather, a cross-sectoral effort.
As the NHS sets an example, others will need to follow. The future health of millions of children, the sustainability of the NHS and the economic prosperity of Britain each depend on it. From improved employer health and wellbeing plans; to greater buy-in from the food industry; to a fresh take on food promotions, advertising and sugar-content; better awareness in schools about the risks of obesity; and town-planning to promote rather than restrict physical activity and healthy choices.
Britain has a significant task ahead, a responsibility, for today and tomorrow, for our patients, staff, and the public.