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Four out of five patients rejected lifestyle programme in diabetes prevention pilot

Only a fifth of patients attended a lifestyle change programme to help stop them developing diabetes under a pathfinding scheme for the new national diabetes prevention programme, the lead clinician revealed at the Pulse Live event yesterday.

NHS England announced the launch of the national programme earlier this week, with the aim of getting GPs to refer some 20,000 patients at high risk for diabetes for a programme of education and support to help them lose weight and exercise more.

The scheme is based on experience from seven ‘demonstrator’ sites since last year and is to be rolled out in 27 areas of England at a cost of £7m for the first year, covering around half of the population. Patients will be identified by their GP, who would refer them for the scheme, or via NHS Health Checks.

However, data presented yesterday at Pulse Live from one demonstrator site in Bradford revealed that of, 3,000 patients invited onto the scheme by their GP, only 1,000 accepted the offer to attend the intensive lifestyle change programme – and only 570 ended up attending it.

Dr Sohail Abbas, from NHS Bradford City CCG, said 40-50 patients completed the programme in the first year and experienced ‘statistically significant’ improvements in measures such as BMI, blood pressure and HbA1c levels.

Dr Abbas said: ‘The [intensive lifestyle change programme] worked but whether it will work longer term to change their behaviour we don’t know yet.

‘But 3,000 patients were assessed and 600 patients actually attended.’

Some GPs queried the amount of resources being poured into the scheme for ’such a small group of people’.

However Dr Matt Kearney, Cheshire GP and NHS England and Public Health England national clinical advisor, said the first year of the programme would be evaluated and modified to improve processes, and that payment to providers would ‘to some degree’ depend on how they retained people on the programme.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Why not evaluate before rolling out? Are these people scientists or simply politicians?

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  • Dear All,
    3,000 were invited, 40 had changes demonstrated in 3 measurable parameters (1.3%). This program is to change behaviours and outcoems over 3-5-10 year spans.
    This is a poor start and not a usefull assesment for a program of this type.
    Paul C

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  • Shame on PULSE for reporting this initiative so negatively. It's great to hear that 1 in 5 people who aren't ill but just have a 50% chance of developing T2 diabetes within the next 5-10 years are prepared to sign up to 9 month evidence based behaviour change programmes.
    The cost of an intervention is little more than one outpatient appointment for a person with diabetes and what cost to the individual of developing T 2 diabetes and resultant complications
    This investment in empowering and supporting people to make positive lifestyle changes is to be applauded.

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  • 3000 were invited, 600 attended- so 20 % of all people identified with IGR have signed up to a 9 month very reasonably priced behaviour change programme - sounds good to me.
    As the programme lasts 9 months and invitations/ start dates would have been staggered, I read this as 40-50 people out of the 600 have now finished ( with the rest due to complete at some future date).
    It would be good to know how many people who started dropped out along the way, but sustained behaviour change is really difficult, so well done to to Bradford and very well done to those 40-50 patients who have taken responsibility for their future health and achieved their goals.

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  • Perhaps the 'Behavioural Change' Program should be aimed at our Politicians and Capitalists, who created the social circumstances in which so many people are becoming overweight and obese.

    What has changed in our society to create this epidemic? is the more relevant question.

    I have no faith in any politically motivated Behavioral Change Program, devised out of the Behavioural Insights Team, a Conservative Business more often aimed at using psychological manipulation in order to coerce change in order to support and promote their neoliberal agenda....

    Blame the victims and side step the underlying causes is sticking plaster treatment....

    I have no doubt this will become another lucrative business model for the private sector, commodifying the uk population..

    To my mind Help and Support from our government really means coercion and sanctions.....

    And why not contract our trusted GPs to become the front face of these money making machines!

    The NHS is swiftly becoming a profit centred business rather than a patient centered Public Service.

    Starve GPs of funding, overwork them, create constant chaos and change and then offer to help out!!!

    Same old story....

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