Thousands of people at risk of serious complications from type 2 diabetes could improve their health on weight loss plan.
Diet and lifestyle plans that can potentially put type 2 diabetes into remission for people recently diagnosed with the condition have been made available for more people from 1st September.
The NHS has made provision for 5,000 more patients in 10 areas across England as the first stage in a drive to increase access to the life-changing programme.
It is estimated that diabetes costs the NHS £10 billion a year, while around one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs is for diabetes treatment.
The year-long diet plans will see those who could benefit provided with ‘total diet replacement products’, such as shakes and soups, for three months, alongside support to increase their exercise levels.
People with type 2 diabetes will also be offered managed plans for reintroducing ordinary, nutritious food, with ongoing support from clinicians and coaches in the follow-up period to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid complications linked to obesity.
Around half of those who went on the diet achieved remission of their type 2 diabetes after one year, according to the results of one trial.
As previously reported, NHS research earlier this year revealed people with type 2 diabetes are two times more at risk of dying from Covid-19.
An additional study recently published by the University of North Carolina found that people with obesity are 113% more likely to be admitted to hospital with coronavirus and 74% more likely to need intensive care treatment.
In addition to helping people lead happier and healthier lives, taking action on obesity and diabetes is expected to save the NHS money and free up staff time.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity said: “This is the latest example of how the NHS, through our Long Term Plan, is rapidly adopting the latest evidence-based treatments to help people stay well, maintain a healthy weight and avoid major diseases.
“There has never been a more important time to lose weight and put their type 2 diabetes into remission, so it’s good news for thousands of people across the country that practical, supportive measures like this are increasingly available on the NHS.”
This latest announcement follows the NHS Long Term Plan continuing to roll out new ways of supporting people with diabetes, and highlights the NHS’s ability to turn the latest academic research into support for those who would benefit.
The programme is in addition to the world-leading NHS Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme that has had more than 600,000 referrals into the scheme, and now people who are eligible can refer themselves into the programme online rather than needing a GP referral.
During the Covid-19 pandemic people who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes will be fast-tracked into the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, as reported here.
Bev, one of the first patients to benefit from the diets during trials, said: “My goal for the first eight weeks of the low calorie diet was to lose 5% of my body weight – which I achieved in six weeks – and in total I’ve lost over 10kgs, my type 2 diabetes is now in remission and I no longer have to take any medication – I am over the moon.
“Since the low-calorie diet programme, my mind set has totally changed for the better and I look at food differently now – my shopping habits are far healthier and, when I eat out, I’ll go for a healthier option. The programme has taught me moderation.
“My skin is clearer, and people say that I’ve got my sparkle back – I didn’t realise that I’d lost it but now I see that I definitely had. I can honestly say that the low-calorie diet programme changed my life for the better.”
The sites rolling out the low-calorie diet programme are:
- North East and Yorkshire: South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw ICS, and Humber Coast & Vale STP
- North West: Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership
- South East: Frimley Health and Care STP
- South West: Gloucestershire STP
- Midlands (West and East): Derbyshire STP, and Birmingham and Solihull STP
- East of England: Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) ICS
- London: North East London, and North Central London
Sites across the country will test evidence from the original trials in a ‘real world’ implementation during a 12-month treatment course.
People living with type 2 diabetes who have been diagnosed with the condition in the last six years will be considered for the pilot tests to try the diet plan.
Individuals must also meet other eligibility criteria to be referred to the service to ensure the programme is right for them.
The interventions will provide Total Diet Replacement products alongside virtual one-to-ones, group sessions and digital support.
Find out more about the NHS Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme
Find out more about type 2 diabetes
Read the DRWF leaflets A healthy diet and diabetes and Exercise and diabetes here
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