The First progress report of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme for 2016/17 has been published by Public Health England, Diabetes UK and NHS England and it shows promising results.
Although it is early days, with some of the 27 ‘first wave’ sites gradually coming on stream and gathering momentum during the 12 month timeframe for the report, it seems that the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) is capable of having the desired impact on the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes in England.
Health Exchange in partnership with Westbank Community Health and Care, trading as Living Well Taking Control LLP (LWTC), is the NHS DPP provider in 7 of the first wave areas and is delighted to have played its part in contributing to the development, delivery and success of the programme.
In March 2013, LWTC delivered an evaluated pilot programme in Birmingham and Exeter to people identified as being at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This involved working with a number of Universities including Exeter, Bristol and Birmingham. Working with the Universities, a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) was undertaken with the aim of evidencing the value and benefits of the service to the service-users.
An independent evaluation of the effectiveness of education for those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes was conducted by the University of West England and engagement with the programme was found to increase likelihood of achieving significant reductions in weight and other outcomes linked to a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. The development phase of this pilot programme helped to inform the evidence base underpinning the NHS DPP.
According to the report, during the first twelve months of the programme 43,603 referrals were made to the NHS DPP, which exceeded the target number by 16%. 49% of those referred took up the offer and attended an initial assessment session, which is higher than expected. Expert knowledge and a literature review had predicted that the figure was likely to be around 40%.
In each of the areas that LWTC delivers the programme, uptake was at least 52%, reaching as high as 86% in Bury and Sefton – the highest uptake rate of the programme.
The report also showed that the demographics of the first-year cohort offered a good representation of the general population, and of those groups known to be at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
25% of the cohort were from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups (compared to 15% of the general population). Individuals with African-Caribbean, Black-African, Chinese or South Asian ethnicity are known to be at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes over their White counterparts and at a younger age, so this is a very encouraging start.
80% of people attending the programme were under 75, meaning the programme has been successful in engaging younger people to take action with their health before a serious condition has developed. This percentage also aligns with the estimated proportion of this age group in the at-risk population.
The gender split of the cohort was fairly equal with more men attending than observed in implementation of other similar programmes in the UK and internationally. Men are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but in general less likely to participate in weight management programmes. Changing dietary habits is a key part of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, so it is promising to see men participating and getting actively involved in improving their health.
Finally, there were more individuals attending the programme from the most deprived areas of the country than the least deprived areas. This is a fantastic trend to see, as individuals from more deprived areas are often at higher risk and harder to reach. In Birmingham, one of the areas covered by LWTC, 58% of people attending a course were from the most deprived areas of the city.
The feedback we have received at LWTC from participants on the programme has been excellent. People have enjoyed the group sessions and learnt a lot. Many have expressed their surprise at the impact their dietary choices were having on their health and at what a difference they can make to their weight, stamina and feeling of wellbeing by making different food choices and introducing some exercise into their daily routines. Our staff have derived great satisfaction from helping people to set realistic goals for themselves and supporting them in making the necessary lifestyle changes that take them out of the risk category for Type 2 diabetes.
Here is a sample of what participants have had to say about the programme: Jeanette and Roy talk about the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in South Sefton
“People like taste, so many are unwilling to give things up. I think health is more important. Looking after your diet and exercise is the best you can do.”
Mohinder is from Birmingham. Read his story.
“I think this is a good way to get control of personal health, and would recommend it to others. I now know how to tackle my diabetes risk and I am confident I will now not become diabetic.”
Pam joined the programme in Dudley. Read her story.
LWTC is now also delivering the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in a further 6 second wave sites around England and we are looking forward to building on the success of the programme in the years ahead.
Helping people to avoid Type 2 diabetes is not only making a huge difference to the quality of life for thousands of individuals, it is also helping to reduce the strain on resources that health issues associated with Type 2 diabetes threaten to place on the NHS.
Read the full report here.