People who are at risk of type 2 diabetes can self-refer without seeing their GP if their risk score is high enough.
Patients can use an online tool from Diabetes UK to check their risk score, based on factors including age, weight and ethnicity.
If the score is sufficiently high, patients can refer themselves to a local service without having to go through a GP or healthcare professional.
This access to the programme was ‘boosted’ based on the findings that people are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 if they have type 2 diabetes, according to NHS England.
Since the end of July, 291,325 people have used the tool, which is a 637% increase compared to the two months prior.
Over 5,000 people also self-referred in that time to access support to lose weight and prevent the onset of diabetes.
It follows the introduction of a diabetes telephone helpline and online tool which was set up earlier this year to assist people in controlling their blood glucose levels.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS clinical director for diabetes and obesity, said: ‘The fact that two thirds of our nation are overweight or obese coupled with the increased risk of more severe outcomes from coronavirus means that there has never been a better time to lose weight, exercise more and eat more healthily.
‘It’s great to see so many people becoming more aware of their personal risk level but we want to see even more people signing up to the support we have available. It is free and it could be life changing.’
Earlier this month it was revealed that GPs will be able to prescribe ‘soup and shake weight-loss diets to put their type 2 diabetes in remission.