Patients in the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) area are set to benefit from expansion of diabetes prevention programme as NHS England drives forward changes to support people to live healthier lives.

The head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, has announced 13 new areas, including Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire partnership, are now live and ready to offer a leading NHS prevention programme to patients identified at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 

Wave 2 of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme  is part of a wider package of measures to support people at risk of type 2 diabetes to get healthier, keep well and reduce their risk of developing the disease.

Local people from the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) area who are referred on to the programme will get tailored, personalised help to reduce their risk of developing the disease.  Their support will include education on healthy eating and lifestyle choices, reducing weight through bespoke physical exercise programmes and portion control, which together have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

The programme, which is run collaboratively by NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK, was officially launched last year, with the first wave made up of 27 areas and covering 26 million people – almost half of the country. The latest national figures reveal the programme is making good progress, with just under 50,000 people referred in Wave 1 and more than 18,000 on the programme in at the end of April. This exceeds the original target set in the NHS Mandate of 10,000 referrals during 2017/18.

Wave 2 areas will cover another 25% of the population, with an estimated 130,000 referrals and up to 50,000 additional places made available thanks to the expansion.

The ambition is for the programme to eventually cover the whole of the country and these figures could rise to as many as 200,000 referrals and more than 80,000 people on programmes by 2018/19.

Early evidence is positive and suggests that just under half of those taking up the programme are men – a much higher proportion that traditional weight loss programmes, while roughly a quarter of people are from black and ethnic minority communities.

Dr Andrew Girdher, Clinical Lead NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, BSW said:
“Type 2 Diabetes is a growing problem and potentially a preventable disease through diet, lifestyle and exercise. 

“I am delighted that our area has been chosen to be part of the second wave of the evidence-based NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. This is a free locally delivered 9 month rolling programme to target people who are at risk of developing diabetes.

“Those at risk of developing diabetes now have access to this robust programme to improve their health and reduce their risk of developing diabetes. I would strongly encourage anyone who has been invited to attend as this is an important step in helping to prevent diabetes and associated ill health.”

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health said:

“Prevention of type 2 diabetes is very important as it gives people the opportunity to lead longer, healthier lives.

“We’re pleased this prevention programme has been introduced and I hope people respond well to it and take positive strides towards a healthier future.”