NHS Prevention Programme cuts chances of Type 2 diabetes for many – as face-to-face sessions resume tomorrow

Thousands of people have avoided Type 2 diabetes thanks to the world leading NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP), according to new research.

New data suggests that the healthy living programme resulted in a 7% reduction in the number of new diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes in England between 2018 and 2019, with around 18,000 people averting the dangerous consequences of the condition.

The research comes as a leading Hampshire GP today welcomed the resumption of face-to-face sessions for people at risk of developing diabetes this Friday (April 1) after a two-year absence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Southampton GP Dr Paul O’Halloran, Chair of the Diabetes Board for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System, said: “I’m delighted to report that face-to-face (F2F) delivery of the programme will resume across our area this Friday – and, after issues caused by the pandemic, this service has never been so important.

“Combined lifestyle interventions – including diet, physical activity and sustained weight loss – can be extremely effective in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. That is why we need to ensure that all who can benefit from the programme know of it and can access it.”

Someone completing the nine- month scheme reduces their chances of developing type 2 diabetes by more than a third (37%), according to new University of Manchester research.

People enrolled in the programme get advice on healthy eating and exercise that can prevent them getting the condition, avoiding the need for medication and complications such as amputations.

Dr O’Halloran said: “Our face-to-face delivery paused on March 20, 2020, and was replaced by remote delivery on zoom ten days later. A digital app-based platform has been available as an additional delivery option for people since August 2019 and during the pandemic.  

“There have been 28,910 referrals, with 15,093 patients starting the programme since the DPP started in Hampshire in August 2017 until January 31, 2022.  The return of face-to-face delivery can only increase the appeal of the programme for more people.”

Patients whose face-to-face activity was paused during lockdown will be offered the chance to restart the programme if they wish to. 
Evidence has shown that the NHS spends around £10 billion a year on diabetes – around 10% of its entire budget – and the NHS DPP is highly cost effective in the long-term.

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can have a devastating impact on people and their families. It is a leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and many of the common types of cancer.

Previous estimates suggest that the number of people with diabetes could rise to 4.2 million people by 2030, affecting almost 9% of the population.

If there may be a delay in a Hampshire or Isle of Wight participant starting their journey due to fewer referrals in their area, remote group services will be offered.

To ensure that individuals at the highest risk of experiencing health inequalities across the programme can continue to have timely access to the appropriate support, there are remote interventions to particular tailored cohorts including those with a hearing impairment requiring British Sign Language, women with a previous diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes, service users from South Asian backgrounds who require a specific cultural and language tailored service.

For more information about the diabetes programme, visit NHS England » NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) or www.stopdiabetes.co.uk.