Yorkshire at forefront of drive to cut the toll of Type 2 diabetes

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens

Tens OF thousands of lives could be saved due to a major initiative in Yorkshire to prevent people developing Type 2 diabetes, health leaders have said.

A large proportion of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented, and trials in the United States, Japan, China and India have shown 30-60 per cent reductions in incidence over three years in adults at high risk through intensive lifestyle change programmes.

It is hoped that if the national programme replicated this success, it could save lives and millions of pounds for the NHS by significantly reducing the four million people otherwise expected to have Type 2 diabetes in England by 2025. Bradford is one of the areas featured in the campaign.

England will be the first country to implement such a programme at scale, initially targeting up to 10,000 people at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes followed by a national roll-out.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens will formally announce the move at the Diabetes UK conference in London.

“It’s time for the NHS to start practising what we preach,” he said.

“The NHS already spends an estimated £10 billion a year on potentially avoidable illnesses, and the human toll is more than 100 amputations a week and around 20,000 early deaths every year.

“Yet for over a decade we’ve known that obesity prevention cuts diabetes and saves lives.

“If these results were from a pill we’d doubtless be popping it, but instead this programme succeeds by supporting people to lose weight, exercise and eat better.”

The National NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is a joint initiative between NHS England, Public Health England (PHE) and Diabetes UK.

PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie said: “This innovative programme is putting ‘evidence into action’ on the ground. Despite Type 2 diabetes being largely preventable, 2.5 million people in England already have the disease with another 9.6 million at high risk of developing it and this cannot be ignored.”

Type 2 diabetes usually develops after the age of 40 and is more common in people who are overweight.

Seven places around the country have been chosen to take part in the initial phase of the programme, involving drives on weight loss, physical activity, cooking and nutrition.

These are Birmingham South and Central clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), Bradford City CCG, Durham County Council, Herefordshire CCG/LA, Medway CCG/LA, Salford CCG/LA, Southwark and Lambeth Councils and Southwark CCG.