The first 10 sites of the NHS diabetes prevention programme are ready to make referrals in the next two to four weeks.
The programme, run by NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK was launched in March and involves GPs screening patients at risk of type 2 diabetes and referring them to educational and exercise sessions.
The first 10 sites that are taking referrals are Leeds, Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Birmingham, East Midlands, Herefordshire, Berkshire, South London, East London and Durham. Providers for the programme in these sites have been chosen locally and Reed is the provider for six of the areas (others are ICS Health &WB, LWTC and Ingeus).
The programme is rolling out to 27 areas in 2016 (covering 26 million people), with the aim of making up to 40,000 referrals this year. The rest of the country is expected to join the programme by 2020.
Dr Matt Kearney, NHS England’s national clinical director for cardiovascular disease prevention and a GP in Runcorn, said: ‘Every year we see the progressive rise of overweight and obesity among our patients, with increasing numbers developing type 2 diabetes.
‘As a result of this we see more people developing the serious complications of diabetes at an earlier age – heart attacks and strokes, kidney, eye and foot problems, all increasing the risk of early death or major disability in relatively young people.’
He added: ’GPs and nurses are well aware of the need to take action to reduce the risk.
’Once up and running we will be able to refer patients on to the programme, knowing they will be offered intensive professional support to lose weight, improve their diet and increase physical activity – all known to reduce the risk of diabetes.’
However, at one demonstrator site for the programme, only a fifth of patients attended the lifestyle change programme.
Pulse also reported that according to a document sent to practices piloting this diabetes prevention programme, GPs are to be offered incentives to set up a diabetes risk register and refer ‘at-risk’ patients for exercise and diet classes, under plans for enhanced services and QOF indicators.