NHS England has confirmed that up to 20,000 patients will have been referred to the Diabetes Prevention Programme at the end of this financial year because of GP referrals.
The program, which was launched in 2015 and is currently being rolled out across the UK, is expected to have enrolled between 10,000-20,000 people by the end of 2016/17. By 2020, NHS England says that 100,000 places will be available on the programme each year.
Around four million people in the UK have diabetes, with 90 per cent of cases estimated to be type 2 diabetes.
The program, which is a joint initiative between NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK, aims to educate patients about the importance of a balanced diet and getting regular physical activity.
As part of the program, patients are offered telephone and online support with weight loss, cooking and nutrition from trained professionals, with the aim being to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for obesity and diabetes at NHS England, announced that 2,000 patients had already been rolled onto the program as of August this year.
Valabhji told the 2016 RCGP Annual Conference that “swathes of people” have been identified by GPS as having prediabetes and this has created “an ethical case to provide something for those individuals” before they develop type 2 diabetes.
He added that NHS England is considering the development of a “direct to consumer” approach that will bypass GPs and help more patients get access to the programme.
“There’s a proportion of the population that are high risk but don’t have a relationship with general practice. In particular young Asian males – they are a high risk group but they won’t land in the health system and are too young for a health check.
“We need to find ways to get them from age 25, and hopefully this will address inequalities.”
Editor’s note: People with prediabetes who join the Low Carb Program find that they reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, losing an average weight loss of 5kg after six months and increasing the amount of exercise they do by an average of 33 minutes.

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