Prevention of diabetes

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Diabetes currently affects around 3.7 million people in the UK and it is estimated that one in five people will develop Type 2 diabetes by 2025, if current trends persist. In Sefton alone, around 6,500 people have been identified as at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes although it is estimated that a further 26,000 local people are yet to be identified.

To help prevent more of our residents from developing diabetes and suffering the devastating effects of the condition, in June 2016 we led the roll out of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) in Sefton. The programme is a joint initiative between NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK. The first wave of 27 areas included Sefton and covered 26 million people, half of the population, making up to 20,000 places available.

In April 2017 the programme was launched across a further 13 other regional areas. The programme is now available nationwide.

What people told us 

We know from public engagement that people would prefer smaller groups and one to one sessions in a course and that they wouldn’t want to travel more than 10 miles to get there. They would also like to involve their families if possible and some thought they may find it difficult to commit.

How we responded

We developed our local approach to rolling out the programme on the results of the national engagement as well as from a number of local involvement exercises. We know that travel is a reoccurring theme for our residents in Sefton as this is often reported back to us as a barrier so we had this in mind when thinking about venues to hold the sessions.

We have always had a real focus on prevention and educating people on how to successfully manage diabetes in order to reduce the risk of future complications but in the last couple of years we have spent a lot of time on prevention with the introduction of the Healthier you: National Diabetes Prevention Programme.

The programme was launched in Sefton in January 2017 and offers residents tailored, personalised help and is run from local community venues close to where people live. So far, 900 local residents have joined the course, which offers them advice on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes, which together have proven to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

After only six weeks of being on the programme, 65% of participants lost an average of 7lbs in weight, benefiting from further weight loss and health improvements as they continued through the twelve month programme.

We organised a lot of patient and primary care engagement to embed and develop this programme.

We held an event in Maghull during Diabetes Prevention Week, organised to educate people on diabetes prevention. As a result of this event, over 60 residents signed up to the prevention programme. You can read a press release on the event here.

The team also attended Park Run in Crosby during the prevention week with Diabetes UK to spread awareness about diabetes prevention. Dr Nigel Taylor spoke to a number of runners when they visited the DUK know your risk stand at the finish line at the weekly event. You can read the press release here.  

As well as events such as these, we engage on a regular basis with GPs and practice nurses. We have done this in the past with presentations and training at various Protected Learning Time (PLT) meetings which are regular training and development sessions for our GPs and practice staff.

We take a collaborative approach to development of the programme – as well as patient and primary care feedback. We worked with Sefton’s public health team and NHS England to develop other patient referral pathways such as making referrals via health checks which proved successful.

One Sefton patient who was introduced to the programme after advice from their Doctor, said: “I hope to get long term health benefits out of the course which is going well so far. I am already feeling more positive. It’s more than just about eating and food, it has an holistic approach including wellbeing, mind and body.”

Another patient said: “I signed up to the programme as I had a fear of Type 2 Diabetes and I hoped to achieve better eating and exercise habits. It is going well, it is well presented, friendly and the group has gelled really well.”

Watch a short video supporting the exercise