Leicester professors urge NHS to tackle diabetes “before it’s too late”

Posted by ap507 at Jun 07, 2018 03:02 PM |
Two leading Leicester professors have urged the NHS to take action on the type 2 diabetes “ticking time bomb”

Issued by the Leicester Diabetes Centre on 7 June 2018

Two leading Leicester professors have urged the NHS to take action on the type 2 diabetes “ticking time bomb”.

Professor Melanie Davies CBE, who has been a consultant in the city for more than 20 years, wants the national health service to urgently start rolling out structured education to those at risk of or who already have the condition.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition which puts a huge burden on patients to manage lifestyle change and often requires taking many medications.

Structured education, which provide attendees vital support to manage this long term condition, has been proven to improve key outcomes, reduce the onset of complications and is cost effective or even cost saving.

Professor Melanie Davies CBE, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester and Co-Director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, a partnership and collaboration between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester, said: “In the last two years there has been a number of high-quality research publications that have consolidated the evidence for the effectiveness of structured self-management education and has even shown that good evidence based programmes can save lives.

“They have all shown strong evidence that adopting this approach for people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, or who have already been diagnosed, benefit from improved health outcomes and are less likely to die prematurely. 

“However the research shows that it is only these programmes which have been tried and tested and shown to work in research which lead to the most effective outcomes for patients.”

Evidence based patient education and self-management programmes are cost-effective, improve wellbeing and clinical outcomes, decreases A1c, improves patients knowledge and reduces burden of this long term condition on an individual.

Professor Davies added: “Not only have we seen weight loss, improved blood sugar levels and better psychological outcomes, but the people themselves attending the classes say they feel empowered managing their own health and are more likely to continue to take their medication.”

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle condition that is usually associated with poor lifestyle. However, it can be prevented or controlled by eating healthily and exercising regularly.

Professor Kasmlesh Khunti, who is also Co-Director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, added: “We already know that type 2 figures is a ticking time health bomb, with figures significantly rising year on year.

“Not only is the condition a health issue, but it’s also a financial drain on the NHS. As all the research indicates structured education can significantly make a difference, I urge all NHS decision makers to start incorporating it among their treatment pathways before it’s too late.”

The NHS has been given £44m transformation funding to support improving the treatment and care of people with diabetes. One of the areas that has been singled out is increasing the uptake of structured education.

Both professors are part of a team that is currently rolling out the Embedding study, which involves developing and testing an ‘embedding package’ of practical advice and solutions to facilitate an increase in uptake to structured education for self-management of type 2 diabetes.

There are several different structured education programmes available for people to follow. One, which has had much success with people, is the Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Diagnosed (Desmond) programme.

Launched in 2003, Desmond was designed to support people who already have type 2 diabetes the skills necessary to live with the condition. It was developed by researchers based at the Leicester Diabetes Centre, recently named an ‘International Centre of Excellence’ and an ‘International Centre of Education’ by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

Newly released research showed that in over 1,670 people with diabetes who completed the course between 2014 and 2015 had reduced HbA1c levels of about 1 per cent. HbA1c is the name given to average blood sugar readings of someone with diabetes over a period of weeks or months.

Desmond’s Director Bernie Stribling said: “These findings are hugely valuable to us as a team, so it’s rewarding to know the programme continues to help people to control their condition. These are real people in a real-world setting in a multi-ethnic UK city.

“We’ve estimated that on average people with type 2 diabetes only see their healthcare professional for three hours a year, making Desmond even more vital to help and encourage people to manage, control and prevent type 2 diabetes.”

The study findings have been published in the Practical Diabetes International journal.

Desmond is the collaborative name for a family of group self-management education modules, toolkits and care pathways for people with, or at risk of, type 2 diabetes.

Most Desmond programmes are delivered in a group to increase healthcare professional contact time and also encourage positive interactions between group members.

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