Diabetes prevention programme is making good progress
Dr Jenifer Smith, programme lead for the ‘Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme’, Public Health England
Your article, ‘Flagship NHS diabetes scheme under scrutiny’, fails to draw a distinction between the evidence behind the nationally implemented Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and the results of local pilot sites used to inform and feed into the official programme.
We’ve made no secret of the fact that the Healthier You programme is a long-term commitment. As with any public health programme, it is building momentum while it is in its early stages.
The number of people taking part so far are where we expect them to be for a large scale prevention programme like this. We are not rethinking the programme, but we are always taking note of emerging evidence – it would be irresponsible for a public body to not continuously evaluate and monitor a world-first programme of this scale.
The latest results show that we have in fact seen more referrals onto the programme than we aimed for, which is good progress. We are also mobilising the Wave 2 sites ready to take referrals shortly, as planned.
The programme has built-in mechanisms to boost uptake and retention (through a contract payment model) which we are continuing to monitor. We are also developing a digital pilot to broaden the ways in which people can take part in the programme.
We simply cannot sit back and do nothing – Type 2 diabetes is on course to become a public health crisis. Achieving large scale behaviour change within a daily environment which, in so many ways is often obesogenic, is always going to be a challenge and progress will take time. The programme is a small but effective and growing part of the solution and is already leading to cost savings which will be felt later down the line.