NHS England has announced that 13 new areas, including Gloucestershire, are gearing up to offer a leading NHS prevention programme to patients identified at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Wave 2 of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is part of a wider package of measures to support people with diabetes, or on the cusp of getting diabetes, to stay fit, well and prevent further deterioration.

Local people referred on to the programme will get tailored, personalised help to reduce their risk of getting diabetes. This will include education on healthy eating and lifestyle choices and support to lose weight, which have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

The initiative is being trialled in three Gloucestershire GP practices from the end of June. Patients will be contacted by their surgery if they are identified as being at high risk of developing diabetes and invited to participate in the programme. It is anticipated that the programme will be rolled out across the rest of the county over the next year or so.

Dr Caroline Bennett, Clinical Lead for Diabetes at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:

“While a lot of people have a good understanding of diabetes and how to manage it, many others don’t realise just how close they are to developing the condition.

Anyone can get diabetes and the consequences can be serious. It’s therefore really important to take action if your GP practice identifies you as being at high risk of diabetes.

Evidence shows the best way to reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes is to eat more healthily, take some exercise and, if you are overweight, to lose some weight.”

The programme, which is run collaboratively by NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK, was officially launched last year, with the first wave made up of 27 areas and covering 26 million people – almost half of the country. The latest national figures reveal the programme is making good progress.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England said:

“With more than 18,000 people in England having already started our diabetes prevention programme, the NHS is doing its bit but this is a battle we cannot win alone.”

Alongside this programme, nearly 2.5 million adults and children in England diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes will also benefit from around £42 million of national funding which will be used to advance the care they currently receive.

As part of this scheme, Gloucestershire CCG will receive £230,000 to reduce the number of people who have amputations by improving access to multi-disciplinary foot care teams.

Cllr Tim Harman, cabinet Member for public health at Gloucestershire County Council, said:

“Many people are not aware of the causes of Type 2 diabetes or their risk of developing it.

We know that it is preventable, and the more people we can help the better. This new programme is a great way of supporting people to have a healthier lifestyle.

By taking steps and making simple changes, such as eating healthily, losing weight if you’re overweight, and taking plenty of regular exercise, you can help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

Dr Alison Evans, Consultant Diabetologist at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“By working together to support the increasing number of people who are at the highest risk of diabetes to live more healthy lives now through the Diabetes Prevention Programme, we can reduce the number of serious complications associated with the condition such as heart, stroke, kidney, eye and foot problems that we may see at our hospitals in the future.”