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New online tools for people living with diabetes in the West Midlands are now available on the NHS to help people manage their condition during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new services have been launched on top of a package of measures already in place for people with diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes, including the world-leading Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, which has already successfully helped almost 90,000 people who were at risk of type 2, to lose a combined weight of more than 407,967 pounds.
The three new online services will allow people to manage their condition online, with a range of online videos and training available on each app for children and adults.
Recent findings show that people with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19 but better management of the condition can help improve control and lead to better outcomes.
NHS investment in the technology means that patients will be offered advice on treatment and care, as well as training to adopt healthy behaviours on diet and exercise. This remote support will complement patients’ appointments, many of which have been going ahead throughout the pandemic, through video consultations or via telephone, and more recently in COVID protected areas.
People living with Type 1 diabetes can access the following technology from today:
- Digibete: Children and young people with Type 1 diabetes and their families will be able to use the DigiBete App and website for a wide range of awareness, education, training and support resources.
- MyType1Diabetes: Adults with Type 1 diabetes can access the service directly by visiting myType1diabetes.nhs.uk, it includes videos and eLearning courses, to help people understand more about their Type 1 diabetes and increase their confidence in how to manage it.
People with Type 2 will be able to access the following from later this year:
- Healthy Living for people with Type 2 diabetes: The platform provides users with the skills and knowledge to manage their Type 2 diabetes effectively, including advice on emotional and mental wellbeing, and helps users adopt and maintain healthy behaviours around diet and exercise.
Online appointments, routine discussions with GPs and a dedicated helpline for those treated with insulin are among a range of measures that the NHS has already adopted so that diabetes care can go ahead as normal. The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is also being delivered remotely using platforms such as Microsoft Teams to continue to help those at risk of Type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk.
Tariq Khan, a 35-year-old chef has found the NHS Healthier You programme to be the perfect recipe for a healthy lifestyle. A random blood test revealed that Tariq had prediabetes, which meant that he had blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be classed as diabetes.
“Life as a chef can be really hectic,” says Tariq. “I also had a sweet tooth which meant that I was eating unhealthily and often very late. After the blood test results came back I knew I had to take action, so I was delighted when my GP told me about the Healthier You programme.”
Tariq was referred to the Healthier You programme; delivered by Ingeus at the Summerfield Community Sports Centre in Winson Green. The sessions, run by Ingeus health educator Jake Joyce, give participants practical advice aimed at healthier eating and living; proven techniques to decrease the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
By attending the programme Tariq lost more than 6kg in weight in just four months. “The support from the NHS has been fantastic,” says Tariq. “The programme has enabled me to get control of my health by making small changes to my lifestyle. I used to often eat very late at the restaurant, but my colleagues have been great at helping me to adjust and eat at a sensible time. I’ve also cut down on some carbohydrates and sweet treats.”
Tariq works at Jimmy’s Spices restaurant in Birmingham City Centre but has been currently been furloughed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He is delighted though that the Healthier You classes are still continuing through video calls. “The video classes have been great because they are helping us with all the things that we can do at home,” says Tariq. “We have been advised not to be sitting at home for a long time and that small things really do make difference to staying healthy. Walking and exercises to keep moving the body and the muscles are really helping me to burn the calories at home.
“I would definitely recommend the Healthier You programme to everyone,” says Tariq. “It really does help to stop the diabetes threat in its tracks by reducing your weight, increasing the amount of physical activity that you do and improving your diet. Healthier You also gives you vital information on the way that your body works including the impact of sugars on the body which enables you to take back control of your health.”
Professor Azhar Farooqi, Clinical Director for Diabetes in the Midlands, said:
“Living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes is a daily challenge for millions of people and knowing they are more at risk if they are infected with coronavirus will be worrying, but the NHS has taken action to help people and keep them safe, including the roll out of these helpful apps.
“Access to trusted information and support is key to helping people manage their diabetes. The NHS’s highly successful, world-leading diabetes prevention programme is helping hundreds of thousands of people take small common sense steps to get control of their own health. We are delighted that we can build on that success by launching these new online tools to help empower people to look after their own condition and reduce their risk.”