NHS advice will be offered online to people with type 2 diabetes to help them manage their health and wellbeing independently, potentially preventing the need for extra medical attention or the condition becoming worse.

People with type 2 diabetes will have evidence-based information and support available at the touch of a button, via an online portal, giving them convenient and quick help to deal with the physical and mental challenges of diabetes.

The resource will make the right advice available from home, work or on the move. Trials of the online package showed people making use of the online courses and information reduced their blood glucose levels, a crucial part of managing type 2 diabetes.

Pilot service to be rolled from 2020

Eleven sites will now pilot the new service later this year, with a national rollout from 2020.

There are currently more than 2.8 million people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and a further 750,000 people are believed to be living with the condition undiagnosed.

Trialled through funding from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), the service demonstrated significant improvements in people’s average blood sugar and an improvement in the mental health of people newly diagnosed with the condition.

Following the successful trial, a range of online tools, resources and support services will now be made available, including:

  • Educational courses supporting lifestyle changes to help people better manage their diabetes
  • Trustworthy information relating to lifestyle choices including diet exercise and managing alcohol consumption
  • Support for emotional wellbeing, including to manage the distress people can experience when first diagnosed with the condition.

Simple advice on diet, exercise and emotional support

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity for NHS England said: “Living with Type 2 diabetes is a daily challenge for millions, as well as a growing issue for our NHS, which is why the Long Term Plan for the health service sets out ambitious, innovative and evidence-backed measures to prevent and manage the condition.

“Access to trusted information and support is key to helping people manage their diabetes and this online tool helps deliver this as part of our Long Term Plan to tackle major conditions and diseases.

“We are living in an increasingly digital age with people managing most aspects of their life online, the rollout of this programme will give people the opportunity to get support for their Type 2 diabetes online too.”

Seema Kennedy, Public Health Minister said: “There are millions of people with type 2 Diabetes who are at increased risk of heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and ultimately a shorter life. This is preventable, and the new online tool being rolled out on the NHS will offer simple advice on diet, exercise and emotional support that could make all the difference.

“Through our Long Term Plan for the NHS we want to do more to empower people with easy-to-use digital tools and information to take care of their own health – I am delighted that people are already seeing the benefits of this government’s record funding increase to the NHS budget.”

The NHS in England is now delivering a range of services to tackle diabetes, including the Diabetes treatment and care programme, and NHS Diabetes prevention programme, which has seen 17,000 people with type two diabetes make significant improvements in their health, including losing a combined 60,000 kilograms.