DiabetesUp to 100,000 people in England will be offered places on the world’s first nationwide programme to stop them developing Type 2 diabetes.

Healthier You: the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme will later this year, initially in 27 areas around England and covering 26 million people. A total of 20,000 places will be available in the first phase, with rollout continuing across the country by 2020. By then it is hoped 100,000 referrals will be available each year after.

Those referred will get tailored, personalised help to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes, including education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes, all of which together have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the disease. 

Currently there are 2.6 million people with Type 2 diabetes in England with around 200,000 new diagnoses every year. While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes is often preventable through lifestyle changes.

One in 6 of all people in hospital have diabetes – while diabetes is often not the reason for admission, they often need a longer stay in hospital, are more likely to be re admitted and their risk of dying is higher.

Simon Stevens NHS England’s CEO said: “Around 500 people every day find out they’ve got Type 2 diabetes – a serious but often preventable health condition. By offering targeted support for at-risk individuals, the NHS is now playing our part in the wider campaign against obesity – which is already costing the country more than we spend on the police and fire service combined.”

Seven demonstrator sites have been testing innovative approaches to programme delivery for the last year and this learning has shaped the final programme to get the best results for patients. Over nine months patients will be offered at least 13 education and exercise sessions of one to two hours per session, at least 16 hours face to face or 1-to-1 in total.

Four providers have been chosen to join the NHS Provider Framework and local health services will work with their chosen provider/s to deliver a service for their area.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, said: “Type 2 diabetes is one the biggest health challenges of our time and millions of people in England are at risk of developing this serious disease. 

“This personalised, tailored programme for people at risk will offer support on improving their lifestyle habits, including getting more exercise, a better balanced diet and losing and keeping off excess weight – helping people to take more control of their health and ultimately prevent them developing what is potentially a life threatening condition.”

The programme launch coincides with PHE’s new national campaign, One You, which encourages people in midlife to take control of their health and make better lifestyle choices – helping them to prevent ill health and help them live well for longer. 

Chris Askew, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said: “That people in England identified at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes will be offered personalised support to help them to eat well, become more active and maintain a healthy weight is therefore a significant step in the right direction. This will provide them with the best possible chance of reducing their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and living a long full healthier life."