Diabetes help programme highlighted

PUBLIC health leaders in Somerset made a new call during National Diabetes Week (June 12-18) to people who suffer from the condition to take part in a programme which could radically improve their quality of life.

The county is one of just 21 areas of the country offering a free NHS programme to support residents with the life-threatening condition to lose weight and potentially achieve remission. Type 2 diabetes affects more than 30,000 people in Somerset.

The NHS Type 2 Diabetes ‘Path to Remission’ programme began in Somerset in June last year and so far, 209 residents have signed up to take part. The 12-month programme of support from trained coaches aims to help people with the condition to achieve remission, reducing their risk of diabetes complications and the need for medication. 

The initial phase involves three months of meal replacement with a range of soups, shakes and bars, all of which are provided free of charge to participants. This is followed by reintroduction of healthy meals. On average, participants in Somerset have lost 14 per cent of their starting weight after six months on the programme. 

Councillor Adam Dance, Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset Council, said: “Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition which is shortening and reducing the quality of life for a large number of Somerset residents.

“We know that diabetes is a condition that can be treated very effectively, through evidence-based programmes like this but also with lifestyle changes that can be made at home such as moving more and adopting a healthier diet.

“By eating healthily, moving more and losing weight, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes can be reduced by about 50 per cent.”

Dr Henk Bruggers, GP Partner with NHS Somerset, said: “We must not be complacent about this disease – with the right support, remission is possible. This NHS remission programme is evidence-based and available to those who meet the criteria in Somerset. It is a fantastic programme, and I would urge those who think they might be eligible to find out more and contact their GP practice for a referral.

“We would also urge people to take full advantage of the ‘Know Your Risk Tool’, which is available via Diabetes UK to see if they may have a risk of developing the condition.”

To be eligible for the programme residents must be aged between 18 and 65, have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the last six years, and have a raised body mass index (BMI).

People who think they might be eligible should check the programme website and complete a self-assessment questionnaire. If still interested, they should contact their GP practice about a referral. Places are limited, so it is best to do this as soon as possible. More information about the programme can be found at: https://momentanewcastle.com/patient-lcd-somerset3. Information on Type 2 diabetes in general (as well as Type 1 diabetes) is available from Diabetes UK and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/