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Three-quarters of areas sign up for GP diabetes screening programme

More than three-quarters of CCGs have put themselves forward to start rolling out the Government’s new flagship diabetes screening and prevention programme, NHS chiefs have announced.

In all, 168 CCGs (78%) have together put in 66 joint bids to join the first wave of roll-out of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, NHS England said.

The programme – a joint effort between NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK – will see GPs tasked with helping to identify an estimated five million patients on their registers who are at high risk of developing diabetes, and referring them for lifestyle change interventions, including cookery and Zumba classes, to help reduce their risk of going on to develop diabetes.

So far seven ‘demonstrator’ sites have trialled different approaches to screening and referral programmes, including in Bradford where an existing scheme has identified 6,000 people at risk of type 2 diabetes over the past 18 months, with 200 currently on an Intensive Lifestyle Programme.

Another well-established scheme in Durham has identified 201 patients through the NHS Health Checks programme in the first eight months, with 110 currently enrolled on diet and exercise classes.

Dr Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England clinical lead on obesity and prevention, said he was ‘very pleased with the amount of interest’ from CCGs, and that this ‘heightens our confidence that across the country we can deliver an effective programme which will prevent or delay people at high risk of type 2 diabetes from developing it’.

‘The programme offers a great opportunity for health and local government to work well together, make a big impact and really change people’s lives for the better.’

Government advisors say the prevention programme should prevent three-quarters of high-risk people developing diabetes, but some GP experts have warned they have exaggerated the likely impact and that the approach is too clinically focused.

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