Over 700 people in Gloucestershire are enjoying a new lease of life after taking positive action to avoid the life threatening disease diabetes, thanks to an NHS diabetes prevention programme.

The local Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP) is funded by NHS England, and targets individuals who have been identified by their GP surgery as having high blood sugar levels, which puts them at significant risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

So far, the initiative has been introduced in Gloucester City and Cheltenham, with plans in place for it to extend across the county by April 2018.

The programme comprises sessions covering nutrition, exercise and suggested behavioural changes to maintain a healthy weight and become more physically active.

Dr Shabari Hosur, local GP and Clinical Lead for Diabetes at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“Type 2 diabetes is a chronic medical condition which can have a major impact on people and their families. It affects the entire body and increases the risk of complications, such as an increased susceptibility to heart disease, kidney failure and stroke.

However, the good news is that people at risk who are invited to join the National Diabetes Prevention Programme can learn how to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

The New Year is a great time for people to reflect and take control of their health. I really encourage people to accept their NHS health check invitation, as a blood sugar test will highlight their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and their eligibility for the course.”

The CCG in Gloucestershire is part of the second wave of a national rollout of the scheme. GP surgeries offer the programme to patients with a recent blood result in the range of Non Diabetic Hyperglycaemia, also known as ‘pre-diabetes’.

Katie Tucker, Director at Kingfisher Treasure Seekers, which is delivering the programme said:

“We are delighted that over 700 patients have now joined the programme; as many as 28% of the patients invited have signed up so far, and this figure is improving all the time.

The ‘Healthier You’ programme is free, and offers participants very specific help to reduce their risk of diabetes.

Initially, patients have a private meeting with a trained facilitator before joining group sessions which provide education about healthy eating and lifestyle choices, advice about reducing weight through exercise and portion control and information about food groups and food labelling.

The changes people make to their lifestyle based on learning about these topics can make huge improvements to their health.”

Debbie Pinnell, Practice Nurse at Brockworth Surgery, said:

“We are thrilled to be actively referring patients onto the NDPP and are experiencing a really positive response from patients so far.

It’s great to have an NHS programme available locally which is tailored specifically to preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes and maintaining patient health and well-being.”