The Government has teamed up with UK healthcare providers to sell its flagship NHS diabetes prevention scheme to countries in the Middle East.
The Department of Health (DH) said its business arm HealthCare UK has secured a ‘commercial Letter of Intent’ for UK providers to participate in the running of the diabetes prevention programme in Arab Gulf countries.
The NHS programme, which is currently being rolled out across England, was developed by NHS England and Public Health England in partnership with charity Diabetes UK. It involves GPs identifying people at high risk of diabetes based on their blood glucose levels, and referring them for tailored diet and exercise classes.
NHS chiefs insist the programme is evidence-based and will cut the incidence of diabetes by 30%, but some GP critics have argued that the scheme over-exaggerates the potential benefits from lifestyle interventions and that resources should be put into wider public health initiatives instead.
The DH said in a press release that ‘diabetes is an urgent public health challenge shared by the UK and the Gulf countries’ and that ‘our approach with the diabetes programme has been to take an existing UK capability and make the learning from it available overseas’.
The press statement added that a ‘commercial organisation in Qatar is now working with UK health organisations to scope and roll out’ the programme there, and that ‘this is a model we are looking to replicate in other areas’.