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.