Wonderful news to start the year! NHS England's implementation intentions for the 'Five Year Forward View', the latest plan for the NHS, include a national prevention programme for Type 2 Diabetes. Work on this is to begin imminently this year and will be developed and delivered in partnership with Diabetes UK.
It's a hugely important development that yes, could save taxpayers' money through less burden on the NHS, but more importantly, save people themselves the emotional stress and further physical ill health that diabetes can bring. As someone with Type 2 diabetes once memorably told us, 'Type 2 diabetes doesn't come alone to the party, it also brings its friends'- unwelcome friends as it turns out, which include high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, heart, foot and eye problems.
Prevention has been shown to work. Identifying and making people aware they are at risk is the first step and to an extent, this is already being done in the form of the NHS health check. A prevention programme will build on this and actually DO something about the risk. Hopefully, people at risk will be given individual, practical and most importantly, motivating, support and opportunity to do what's needed, that is to become more active each week and to lose some excess weight if they have any. Granted, that can be hard for some people, but not nearly as hard as trying to deal with those unwelcome 'friends' at the diabetes party, further down the line.
We sincerely wish this programme every success, will be watching its evolution carefully and stand ready to promote its delivery. Happy 2015!