There are 3.9 million people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the UK. This figure has more than doubled in the last 20 years. If current trends persist, 1 in 10 people will develop Type 2 diabetes by 2035. In Bedfordshire Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK), there are just over 50,000 people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and we estimate a further 15,000 people have Type 2 diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed.
Type 2 diabetes can be a very serious health condition and can lead to long-term health problems if left untreated. However, Type 2 diabetes is preventable. People can significantly reduce their risk by making small lifestyle changes to lose excess body weight, become more physically active and adopt a healthier diet.
Across BLMK, our GP practices have been working hard to identify people at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and offer them referral to The Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. Since its launch around 3 years ago, almost 25,000 people have been referred to the programme from our GP practices.
Local residents now able to sign themselves up to the programme without a referral from their GP practice.
The process is really simple – you just need to use the Diabetes UK ‘Know Your Risk’ tool. This just takes a few minutes to fill out, with some straightforward questions and measurement of their height, weight and waist. If the tool estimates that you are at moderate or high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, you will be invited to sign up to their free local Healthier You service.
The Healthier You service provided locally has a range of personalised support. There is access to trained health coaches to help people focus on their goals and keep them motivated, as well as connecting them with other people locally who are working to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes. Although the programme is normally delivered in groups at different times and locations, right now it is being offered over group telephone or video conference, or online through apps and websites. Groups sessions are available in 14 different languages including Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Hindi, Arabic, Somali and Polish in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.