Stopping diabetes before it starts – Norfolk and Waveney take a proactive approach to Type 2 prevention
GP practices across Norfolk and Waveney are joining forces to identify and support those patients most at risk from Type 2 diabetes, with local surgeries playing a crucial role in delivering a programme of targeted health intervention that could save lives.
More than 12 million people in the UK are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes – a lifelong condition that affects day-to-day wellbeing and poses a significant risk to health. Type 2 diabetes can lead to:
- heart disease and stroke
- nerve damage (loss of feeling and pain)
- foot ulcers and infections
- vision loss and blindness
- miscarriage and stillbirth
- reduced kidney function
- sexual problems – like problems getting or keeping an erection
This week (14-20 June) is national Diabetes Awareness Week which aims to shed light on the condition, its symptoms, and impacts in order to encourage people to understand the risks and take action early.
A simple blood test at your GP surgery can detect whether blood glucose levels are outside the normal range, a key indicator of type 2 diabetes risk. If the results show you may be at risk of developing diabetes, help is at hand. Simple lifestyle changes and weight management have been shown to significantly cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Your GP can refer you to the Healthier You programme, a series of free supportive coaching sessions that help people with increasing their physical activity, making healthier food choices and managing their weight.
NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group is also working with GP practices to take a proactive approach; identifying and contacting patients who have had this blood test within the last two years. They are writing to thousands of patients across the county as part of the Protect Now health intervention programme, inviting them to self-refer into Healthier You if their previous results have shown they may be at risk.
Protect Now works with local GPs to identify those with risk factors that indicate they are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in the future. This proactive and innovative use of data to predict future risk means local practices can pick up on early warning signs and offer people a Healthier You referral without the need for a blood test.
Dr Clare Hambling is the GP clinical lead for diabetes with Norfolk and Waveney CCG: “We are using Diabetes Awareness Week as a platform to highlight the fantastic efforts already underway across Norfolk and Waveney to tackle diabetes head on. As part of our Protect Now programme of work, we are writing to patients registered with GP practices in the Lowestoft, Norwich, Coastal and Gorleston areas - these patients will have had a blood test through their GP practice in the last two years that has shown them to be at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”
“We are offering to work with them and support them to get referred into the NHS Healthier You Diabetes Prevention programme. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating a healthy, balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping physically active, but we know that some people need support to make these lifestyle changes and stay motivated.
Added Dr Hambling: “We now know that people living with Type 2 diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19. It’s great that more and more patients are joining the programme and providing positive feedback; saying that this is really helping them to make changes to their lifestyle and reduce their risk.”
One recent participant said: “The regular sessions with the Coach inspire me with confidence that I am focussing on the right health priorities to avoid developing Type 2 diabetes. The Coach strikes a nice balance of being both informative and supportive without putting any pressure on the participants. I am so glad I chose to ‘get with the programme’ – and it’s free!”
For further information or enquiries please:
Phone: 07867 136669
Notes to Editors
- There are 12.3 million people in the UK at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Some groups are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes: men, people of South Asian or Black ethnicity, people who are overweight and people with a family history of Type 2 diabetes.
- People can also check their personal risk of developing the disease via the online Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool and then self-refer into the support programme to cut their risk if it comes out as high. The tool can be found online at riskscore.diabetes.org.uk or by searching ‘Know Your Risk’.
- The Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is a 9-month evidence-based lifestyle change programme which helps people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk through managing their weight, eating more healthily and being more physically active.
- Patients are eligible for the programme if they are: aged over 18, not pregnant and registered with a GP practice. They can self-refer on to the programme if they score ‘moderate’ or ‘high’ on the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool. People with a previously raised blood glucose level may also be eligible.