As the countdown to Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week on 20-26 April 2020 begins and NHS organisations across the country are rushing to pre-order their free toolkits, avid campaign supporter Vishal Gorecha, Diabetes Assurance Manager at the East Midlands Clinical Network shares his top tips for marking the week and the explains the impact that previous years’ campaigns have had across the East Midlands.
The early days
East Midlands Clinical Network piloted a regional Diabetes Prevention Week in January 2017 prior to the official, national Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week campaign launching in 2018.
Vishal tells us: “As part of this campaign, we organised photos to be taken in recognisable spots across the participating counties and superimposed the number of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the last five years across the picture and released these to the media.
“Diabetes charity, Silver Star also ran Type 2 diabetes prevention roadshows by stationing its mobile diabetes units at busy places across the region. This proved to be a brilliant opportunity to raise awareness of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme as well as encourage members of the public to check their risk. If they were identified as being at risk, they were given a letter to take to their GP practice requesting a confirmatory venous blood test for referral onto the programme.”
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week: 2018 and 2019
When the national Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week officially launched in April 2018, East Midlands Clinical Network built on this work year on year with support from the NHS Diabetes Programme, a joint initiative from NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK.
Vishal continues: “They provide free Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week toolkits which our STPs, CCGs and practices found extremely useful – and not just during the week but all year round. The toolkits include posters, leaflets, bunting, waist tape measures, stickers, animation clips and promotional videos. The resources were developed to use across multiple platforms including face-to-face and social media and we encouraged all CCGs and GP practices to ensure they placed an order for hard copy toolkits and that they download all digital material.
“Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week was actively promoted on social media via NHS Midlands and East and local CCG social media accounts using the official hashtag #PreventingType2.
“STPs also ran a series of diabetes prevention roadshows which were promoted similarly and re-tweeted by NHS England accounts to broaden the reach. STPs targeted hard to reach and high-risk population areas such as Normanton Road in Derby due to its high BAME population or the East Coast of Lincolnshire due to the pockets of deprivation.
“The 2018 and 2019 campaigns once again saw significant media coverage across the region in the press, radio and TV on the importance of prevention and the complications that can arise from Type 2 diabetes including lunchtime, evening and late-night coverage of the diabetes prevention roadshow at Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre in Leicester on BBC East Midlands Today.
“In 2019, additional diabetes prevention roadshows took place via Silver Star and we encouraged all STPs to develop at least one patient case study per CCG across the region for use over the course of the week in various promotional activities.”
The Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week roadshows have been key across the East Midlands, particularly the high-risk areas, in raising awareness of the programme and checking people’s risk.
Vishal tells us: “Over the course of the week, roadshow colleagues checked a very high number of patients – over 800 in 2018 and over 1,000 in 2019 – with approximately 20% of those being identified at risk and given a letter to request a confirmatory venous blood test from their GP Practice for referral on to the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
“We have seen very high STP, CCG and GP practice participation since the launch of Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week and the free national toolkits have allowed STPs, CCGs and GP practices to actively promote diabetes prevention in their localities at low cost and inform patient and staff knowledge about Type 2 diabetes, the risk factors and the programme.
“Moreover, availability of the digital resources has been important, not only to promote the programme during the week, but in encouraging STPs to use them to actively promote the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme over the course of the year.”
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week 2020
Vishal and his team at the East Midlands Clinical Network will once again be encouraging STPs to order the Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week toolkits – and you should too!
Vishal explains: “We continue to develop new patient case studies as examples of the impact the programme can have and how attending the programme can have a positive impact on an individual’s physical health and emotional wellbeing.
“We’ll be sharing these across all of our platforms during the week and joining the conversation every day on social media using the official hashtag #PreventingType2.”
Why you should get involved in the campaign
Vishal concludes: “The data developed by the NHS Diabetes Programme shows the impact that the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is having on improving people’s health through weight loss and reducing their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and this is vital in ensuring that we continue to promote prevention as it forms a big part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
“However, there still remains unmet need and there are patients out there that would benefit significantly from attending the programme. Through patient interviews we have undertaken, we have had the opportunity to hear first-hand the impact that attending the programme has had on people’s wellbeing.
“We all know about the long-term complications associated with Type 2 diabetes and all efforts in promoting the prevention of the deadly condition means that not only are we educating people to manage their health better and improving their lifestyle, but it can also save the NHS billions of pounds.
“Pre-order your free toolkit whilst stocks last and help the NHS to prevent Type 2 diabetes this Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week!”
Type 2 Diabetes Awareness Month is due to take place on 20-26 April 2020. Pre-order your free toolkit on the Public Health England website.