Making Diabetes Self-Management Accessible Across South London

As part of Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week, Faye Edwards, Senior Programme Manager for diabetes at the HIN, writes about the HIN-backed services which are helping improve access to essential support for people living with diabetes.

For those working in the NHS, particularly primary care, the ever-increasing number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can feel like an uphill climb that just keeps getting higher. Across south London around 180,000 people are living with diabetes, over 120,000 have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia (pre-diabetes), and many more people are undiagnosed.

"For those newly diagnosed with diabetes it can feel overwhelming, confusing and even isolating."

For those newly diagnosed with diabetes it can feel overwhelming, confusing and even isolating. As with any new diagnosis it can take a while for people to understand the implications, and how they should manage their future health. Diabetes education and personalised, supported self-management are vital in the prevention and long-term management of type 2 diabetes, which is why they are priorities for the NHS.

The Health Innovation Network has had a focus on diabetes since 2014 and during our work with local people the importance of access to diabetes education and peer support became really clear. In 2017 the HIN convened the 12 south London clinical commissioning groups to collaborate and create Diabetes Book & Learn, a service to help people access diabetes education wherever they choose in south London. This cross-boundary working is a great example of how commissioning can enhance patient care and deliver a wide choice of options, achieving an economy of scale that would be impossible to deliver alone.

Across south London the Diabetes Book & Learn service provides people with type 2 diabetes with a wealth of education options, including group sessions led by a specialist diabetes dietician or nurse, delivered in person or online, depending on individual preference. These group courses include the DESMOND and X-PERT HEALTH programmes, both of which are well established, quality assured  type 2 diabetes education programmes delivered by trained educators. It also includes HEAL-D, which is a culturally-tailored type 2 diabetes education course for people of African or Caribbean heritage, created in partnership with members of the African and Caribbean communities in south London.

Book & Learn Digital also has a range of options that provide diabetes education and self-management support via a mobile app or telephone. These include the Low Carb Program, which provides structured education, coaching and support on how to self-manage your type 2 diabetes and uses AI to provide personalised recipe and exercise suggestions; and Second Nature, which uses behavioural insights to support people with type 2 diabetes to make lifestyle changes and gain knowledge of self-managing the condition.





Screenshot of diabetes book and learn homepage. Large header image of South London overlaid with a search box. Main text reads: delaying your diabetes education means delaying better health. Book your covid-friendly type 2 course today.

Since the launch of Diabetes Book & Learn in 2018 the we have continued to support its development. During the pandemic we support the ICBs with the procurement of new digital services and facilitated the switch of in-person sessions to online delivery, keeping the service going when many other similar services in the NHS had been temporarily stood down. Since Diabetes Book & Learn began, over 14,000 people with type 2 diabetes have been booked into a diabetes education course, with over half of these people choosing our digital or online options.

The establishment of Diabetes Book & Learn at scale across south London provides an unrivalled choice of education options for people with type 2 diabetes. It is playing a vital role in simplifying access to key self-management support and encouragement, and is equipping people with type 2 diabetes to take control of their future health and wellbeing. No one with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in south London should feel overwhelmed, confused or isolated by their diagnosis: Diabetes Book & Learn is here to help.

Find out more

People with type 2 diabetes who are registered with a south London GP practice can self-refer at the link below or call our friendly call centre team on 020 3474 5500. Any health care professional can make a referral via our website, call centre or via their practice IT system.

Diabetes Book & Learn

How the Low Carb Program is Helping People with Type 2 Diabetes

Person using phone app in kitchen surrounded by healthy vegetables.

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We hear from Arjun Panesar, Founding CEO and Head of AI at DDM Health, developers of the Low Carb Program which provides type 2 diabetes structured education across South London, with a particular focus on supporting ethnic minority communities.

As of May 2023...

  • Current average HbA1c reduction is 7.0mmol/mol
  • 6.2 per cent average weight loss at 12 months
  • Additional patient and public involvement to explore attitudes to digital tools for type 2 diabetes support

South east London ICB commissioned the Low Carb Program in June 2021 to provide structured education for patients with type 2 diabetes in south east and south west London.

Alongside type 2 diabetes structured education, health coaching and behavioral change support aligned to NICE guidelines, users can choose to follow a low carbohydrate, Mediterranean or balanced diet approach tailored to their health goals, needs and preferences. The platform provides live weekly cook-alongs, exercise classes, meetups, a moderated community, and AI-tailored recipe suggestions based on allergies, dietary requirements and cultural preferences.

“I found the weekly group sessions very useful. When you are trying to lose weight and feel like you are not making progress on certain weeks, you get encouragement from the health coaches and fellow members.” – Karthik S

By providing users with a personalised program to meet their needs, we make it so much easier for people to integrate healthy lifestyle choices in their lives and stick to a program of self-management. This helps to support long-term maintenance of a healthy weight and ongoing behaviour change.

The platform, delivered in nine languages, has proven to be very popular. Real-world data collected after 12 months demonstrates that 83 per cent of patients activated their referral, with 73 per cent of participants completing the intervention. Over 60 per cent of participants are from ethnic minority backgrounds and list English as a second language, with almost half digitally excluded. The project also supports the ICB’s broader Primary Care Green Plan to use local languages to convey important health messaging and understand the cultural needs of the communities affected.

“I went for a blood test the other day and my HbA1c has gone down from 7.2 per cent to 6.5 per cent. I’ve also gone from 107kg to 91kg in 5 months” – Maxine K

We started with a series of digital patient workshops with prospective service users and existing patient champions from within the identified boroughs to understand local needs. South east London alone has an estimated 1.9 million residents and is an area of mixed deprivation. Over and above the language needs, we identified a requirement to support digital and digitally excluded users. The platform was integrated within the existing digital booking platform used in the borough and directed eligible patients with type 2 diabetes to the Low Carb Program.

“I have successfully maintained my blood glucose level and weight loss (17kg) over more than 12 months now.” – Albertos F

The project, supported by the Health Innovation Network, hasn’t just shown popularity but impact too. Self-reported measurements showed a -6.9mmol/mol HbA1c reduction and 6.2 per cent weight loss at 12 months. A five per cent weight loss reduction can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, musculoskeletal problems, stroke, type 2 diabetes related complications and some even cancers, such as breast cancer, by 12 per cent.[1]

Notably, the service supports democratising access to digital tools for hard-to-reach communities. The project has led to the Low Carb Program’s outcomes being showcased to NHS England, which we are incredibly grateful for.

“It’s made such a big difference to my confidence. I love the new Mary!” – Mary R

Find Out More

Find out more about the Low Carb Program and how it’s helping address health inequalities.

Find Out More About the Low Carb Program

Adapting Diabetes Care to the Challenges of Covid-19

You & Type 2

As part of Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week we hear from the HIN's Kate Rawlings on the You & Type 2 programme, and how it was adapted to the challenges of Covid-19.

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Since early 2020 organisations across the world have been asking “How do we adapt and respond to Covid-19?”, and nowhere was this more true than in our own halls at the HIN (or virtual halls, as they soon became).

Since 2018 the HIN has worked with NHS South West London Clinical Commissioning Group to develop a personalised care and support planning pathway known as “You & Type 2” for people living with type 2 diabetes. Like with other healthcare services, its delivery was significantly challenged by the emergence of Covid-19. However, with this challenge also came opportunity, and the HIN launched two new branches of You & Type 2 to support people living with diabetes in light of Covid-19: @ Home and Risk Stratification.

@ Home

As the pandemic gained momentum, more and more pressure was being placed on primary care practices, who were forced to prioritise emergency care and reduce face-to-face contact. This often meant a halting routine checks, including annual diabetes care reviews.

You & Type 2 was temporarily paused, however, with the help of remote technology providers Thriva and, a remote monitoring pathway was developed. The @ Home pathway allowed people with diabetes to receive a free home blood testing kit, urine kit and blood pressure machine in the post. Following the tests, a care planning phone call allowed for seven of the eight key care processes to be completed remotely.

Risk Stratification

Identifying and prioritising high-risk populations was an important part of the Covid-19 pandemic response. It quickly became apparent that people with diabetes were at higher risk of severe illness should they contract COVID-19, but also at risk of their diabetes worsening with the halting of routine care.

Building on existing frameworks produced by the London Clinical Networks and UCL Partners, and with the support of clinical experts, the HIN developed a risk stratification framework. This framework consolidated general and disease specific criteria to focus on people at high risk, but not currently under secondary care. It could be loaded straight into EMIS and created a list for GP practices of people with diabetes at high risk for follow up. This allowed practices to focus their limited resources appropriately.



Initial feedback on the pathways is positive. Over 100 people have used the @ Home pathway, and users have praised it for its convenience. Four practices across South West London have been trained to use the risk stratification tool. Full evaluations are being completed and will be released in the coming months.

Although borne out of the restrictions placed on routine care by COVID-19, these pathways show how the NHS can innovate and adapt in long term disease management to make services more convenient to their population, and how to prioritise interventions for those most in need.

22 million steps taken to prevent type 2 diabetes

To celebrate type 2 diabetes prevention week Chris Gumble, Project Manager for long term conditions at the South West London Health and Care Partnership, has written about the outstanding results seen by the Decathlon programme, which won a HIN Innovation Grant in 2019.

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“The programme offers everyone the opportunity to learn and to grow and to thrive”

The health and wellbeing of our local populations has been tested beyond limits over the last few years. Healthcare services have had to adapt and programmes like the Prevention Decathlon have evolved to meet this new “normal”. But, one thing has not changed: the drive and determination of the team working to improve the Prevention Decathlon.

I wanted to reflect on the last 18 months and share the  incredible journey we have been on that may just change the life of those who attend the programme for good.

✓ 0% completion rate

Collaborating with Sweatcoin and Harlequins foundation, new cohorts of Decathletes (what we call our attendees) have undertaken the Prevention Decathlon over the last year, all recruited from community places of worship, and who were recruited in partnership with the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network (WCEN).

Using the Sweatcoin bespoke app, we are able to track the steps taken by our Decathletes throughout the programme. In total our 59 Decathletes have walked an amazing 22 million steps over the ten-week programme period, which is an average of 45% increase in physical activity levels. Completion rates are at an all-time high of 92% (comparable programme average around 56% in SWL) with individual achievements by Decathletes showing an increase of activity levels by 336%, weight loss of up to 10kg as well as one "MVP" losing 16.4% of their total body weight.

⇧ 0% increase in physical activity levels

These incredible numbers are real people’s achievements and ones that have undoubtably changed their lives for the better. In March, Decathletes were celebrated and awarded for their achievements.

This was all achieved by adapting the programme to meet the needs of the current climate. Throughout Covid-19, the Prevention Decathlon became a digitised offer (virtual delivery) as face to face groups were restricted. At the same time the curriculum was expanded to be more culturally inclusive with the support of the members from the WCEN.

Award nominations aplenty were achieved by the Prevention Decathlon programme over the last year with us being nominated for the London Sport Award 2021 for “Health and Wellbeing Programme of the Year” as well as a nomination for the best not-for-profit partnership at the HSJ Partnerships award 2022 in collaboration with Harlequins Foundation.

“It’s not just healthy eating. We talk about wellbeing, physical activity, stress and sleep, and it’s tailored to different types of diet.”Nicola Clarke - Diabetes Specialist Dietician and Decathlon Facilitator

Looking to the future, a new partnership with the public health teams across Richmond and Wandsworth will see the Prevention Decathlon be accessible to another 800 Decathletes over the coming year!

The Pentathlon, a 5-week version of the programme has also been created in collaboration with the WCEN that does not focus on a specific long-term condition, but on general health and wellbeing. The programme has been created in collaboration with the WCEN and is delivered by local people to their respective communities across SWL.

On the horizon is a really exciting version of the Prevention Decathlon that will be aimed at those at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, thus opening the door to thousands more people to take control of their health and wellbeing and living longer, happier lives!

Watch this space for other updates soon as the Prevention Decathlon wants to break boundaries via a Heptathlon programme, a health and wellbeing programme for those with learning disabilities. Working with the learning Disability team in Kingston, the programme will start its development in June 2022.

Scaling up diabetes services in south London through partnerships, innovation and supporting choice

Headshot of Neel Basudev


The story of how south London transformed diabetes care for up to 300,000 people is one of care moving from niche to mainstream. The HIN’s Diabetes theme Clinical Director Dr Neel Basudev charts successes across 12 boroughs.

Here is a letter I recently received in the post.

I want to change and transform the care for a disease across a vast geography. I have about 180,000 people that I need to improve things for and probably a further 275,000 who are at risk of this disease. I need to get things moving from an almost non-existent baseline across the entirety of south London. I need to improve lots of things like outcomes, pathways and patient experience. I have tried calling the A-Team but they were engaged, who can I contact to make this happen and has this ever been done before? Help!

Okay, so I made the letter bit up, but if you want to know how this can be done, then I may be able to help. I am always singing the praises of the diabetes workstream at the NHS’s Health Innovation Network (HIN). Apart from the obvious bias of being Clinical Director, I think that the story of diabetes transformation is one that needs to be told. I was lucky enough to get the chance recently at our flagship conference – Diabetes UK Professional Conference.

Scaling up services for the whole of south London

My role here began in 2016. There was already good work happening at the HIN, but it never got the traction it deserved across the vast geography of south London. I was lucky that my starting coincided with regional and national transformation work and funding. The HIN acted as a glue for south London and helped with much of the bid writing, coordination and then onward management. We soon moved on from niche to mainstream.

The kick-start to a lot of this was type 2 diabetes prevention which brought together south east and south west London colleagues in a unified way. We started from the non-existent baseline I have already mentioned in my fictitious letter. That was the partnership, networking and contacts ticked off. We built a strong base of relationships and people got a sense of what we could do and what we could bring to the table.

It was a no brainer when national funding trickled its way into south London that the HIN would help transformation work and build on this impressive start. The next big thing was structured education. This required a complete revamp: a new system, new referrals, a referral hub, make things easy, better data gathering and flow. It was a big ask, but we did it and launched in October 2018 with Diabetes Book and Learn.

Choice in the NHS is a rare commodity

Geographical boundaries were broken and people were accessing support by exerting choice. Choice can be a rare commodity in the NHS. We don’t like choice. What if people choose the wrong thing? That’s like me saying to the kids “listen to me, I’m your dad” – so instructional rather than offering advice and choice. It turns out that people with diabetes like choice and choice helped them get more support for their diabetes.

Building on that, we then moved a bit more into innovation with our NHS Test Bed project called You and Type 2. This married up several different innovators and their offerings to plug a vast care and support planning hole in diabetes care. It has been going strong since 2018 with six boroughs involved, hundreds of health care professionals trained and thousands of care plans done. There is much more that we can do with it and as you can hopefully see, we are not ones to rest on our laurels. We are looking into better integration across primary and secondary care and remote monitoring.

I am really proud of everything the HIN has helped to do for diabetes care in south London and equally excited about the future. For those of you old enough to remember…the future is bright, the future is green. Or is that lime green? With a bit of blue and purple. Watch this space.

HIN Diabetes theme

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TfL and London Ambulance Service trial workplace diabetes education to improve staff health

Image of map of London with diabetes cases

Two major London employers embedded clinically-proven Structured Education for Type 1 diabetes to tackle one of London’s biggest health challenges.

The stats

671K Londoners live with diabetes and employers in the capital lose an average £250K due to ill health each year.

An initiative with two major London employers has shown that face to face and virtual diabetes education can be successfully embedded into the workplace to improve the health of staff with Type 2 diabetes.

This comes as the NHS faces increased pressure due to the condition with over 671,000 Londoners living with diabetes and employers in the capital losing an average £250,000 due to ill health each year.

An evaluation of a project by the NHS’s Health Innovation Network with the London Ambulance Service and Transport for London (TfL) has found significant behaviour change in staff toward healthier lifestyle and eating.

Over 60 staff members from the employers attended either online or face to face structured education courses, which is recommended as a vital part of care for people with Type 2 diabetes by the NHS’s clinical standards guardian National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Structured Education (SE) is clinically proven to help people living with diabetes to make changes to their diet and lifestyle that help them to self-manage their condition. It also offers peer support after being diagnosed with the life-changing condition.

Staff were offered a choice to attend a course delivered remotely either by Second Nature or Oviva, which both offer programmes for people with Type 2 diabetes ranging between eight and 12 weeks. Course sessions were delivered through a trained coach with access to online advice, support and information which participants could access through their phones, tablet or computer.

An in-house session to improve self-management was delivered by trained diabetes education experts from Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. They delivered face-to-face group education using the DESMOND Type 2 Management Module, used widely across the NHS, for up to 14 people in a one-day session and a variety of resource materials were provided to participants at the session.

Twenty five staff members completed the Oviva programme and clocked up an average weight loss after eight weeks of 2.3kg, with evidence showing that participant weight loss continues up to 12 months after the programme.
For the 37 staff who completed the Second Nature programme, the average weight loss after three months was 5.7kg.

Staff taking part in this evaluation overwhelmingly welcomed the offer, and to attend, SE courses at their workplace. There was also very high approval of the three programmes from participants. Those completing either the in-house DESMOND programme or one of the remote programmes said their diabetes education needs had been met.

TfL staff who made use of the programmes said: “I think it’s a good thing that TfL are actively promoting this sort of thing. It’s a positive thing in terms of awareness around health and the impact of different health conditions. It’s good that workplaces are doing more to make people aware [of people with different health needs].”
“It’s a powerful message to send to the employee: we’re not just interested in your productivity, but also your health and how to look after yourself.”

TfL was due to start another round of the programme in September 2020 but brought it forward to May. TfL’s Health and Wellbeing Improvement Programme Manager Fernanda Siusta said:
“It was great to be involved in this work which has had such a positive effect on so many participants’ lives. While the pandemic led us to bringing the work forward, we know that for some this has been key to ensuring they stay on track if they had to shield or if they were unable to see their usual medical teams while the NHS handled the response to coronavirus.”

Head of Healthy Workforce at London Ambulance Service Gill Heuchan said:

“As someone with type 2 diabetes I know how difficult it can be when you are first diagnosed and have to attend diabetes education courses. We started the initiative at London Ambulance Service because we are very aware that we have staff whose lives do not fit the norm. Call handlers, medics and support staff are often working busy 12-hour shifts and during unsociable hours, so they can find it even harder to attend courses on learning how to manage their diabetes.

“It has been a fantastic opportunity for staff to have flexible support, not just about diabetes, but about lifestyle choices and general health on a tablet device, which they can utilise easily to fit their lifestyle. Staff who have signed up have fed back positively and many have been able to achieve personal goals because of the support they have received. This initiative has also helped form part of our ‘Wellbeing at Work’ support package for staff which aims to help them manage their own health and wellbeing in and outside of work.”

“We started the initiative at London Ambulance Service because we are very aware that we have staff whose lives do not fit the norm. Call handlers, medics and support staff are often working busy 12-hour shifts and during unsociable hours, so they can find it even harder to attend courses on learning how to manage their diabetes ”Head of Healthy Workforce at London Ambulance Service Gill Heuchan

Health Innovation Network Diabetes Programme Manager Rod Watson said:

”Diabetes is one of our biggest health challenges. Not only is it a leading cause of premature mortality with over 22,000 additional deaths each year, but it doubles an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease and costs over £10 billion every year to manage.

“The HIN has successfully sped up the spread and adoption of a range of evidence-based programmes both face to face and digital to help prevent and treat the condition.
“We spend a third of our time at work so it makes sense for us to work with employers to help embed programmes directly into the workplace. This project shows that this is possible and I would urge all employers to read through our findings.”

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Self care is vital to help tackle the country’s biggest health challenge



Diabetes is one of the country’s biggest health challenges with more than 3.1 million people diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in England. It’s a condition that can ruin lives and cause deadly complications but as Faye Edwards argues, it’s never been easier to access support to self-care.

Not only is diabetes a leading cause of premature mortality with over 22,000 additional deaths each year, but it also doubles an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease. The cost of diabetes to the NHS budget exceeds £10 billion every year and this is expected to grow dramatically over the next 20 years. Recent research has shown that people with diabetes are at a higher risk of complications should they contract Covid-19.

But as we celebrate National Self Care Week, the good news for people with diabetes is that it has never been easier to stay in control of their diabetes and prevent life changing complications. The key to this is supportive, holistic diabetes education.

Learning how to lead a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise, manage medications, maintain good mental wellbeing and how to prevent long term complications is fundamental to ensuring that people feel confident in managing day to day life with diabetes, and to ensure improvements in terms of weight loss, glycaemic control, and general wellbeing.

An innovative new service from the NHS in south London, Diabetes Book & Learn, allows people with diabetes access to education support courses at the click of a mouse. If you have diabetes you can refer yourself to the service via the website, or you can ask your GP or practice nurse to refer you. The Diabetes Book and Learn Website has a wide range of courses available to suit all needs, including a variety of language preferences and delivery modes including face to face or via a mobile app. Once referred, you can choose the most suitable option for you, or if you are unsure, our call centre team are on hand to help you decide.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic it has been crucial to ensure that the service continues to provide high quality support and education for people with diabetes. We have all had to adjust to receiving healthcare via digital means, whether that is online or over the phone. The Diabetes Book and Learn service has been agile in its response to the situation, moving face to face courses online and delivering them via video conference, and increasing the access to 1:1 diabetes education support delivered via telephone and mobile application.

The Diabetes Book and Learn service is the first of its kind, uniting diabetes education providers from across our region to offer a wide range of educational support options for people with diabetes, that would be impossible for one single organisation to achieve alone.

Now more than ever it is vital that all of us strive to live as healthily as possible, especially if we have a long-term condition such as diabetes. Receiving such a diagnosis in the current pandemic can be frightening and isolating – likewise, living with diabetes can feel physically and mentally exhausting. Education and support are key to providing a fresh perspective and confidence to people for whom living with diabetes is tough. It can help with weight loss and mental wellbeing, provide much needed peer support, reassurance, and guidance.

The key to better health and diabetes control starts with education and good self-care – and all of this is available at the click of a mouse.

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Joint pain programme ESCAPE-pain and young people’s Type 1 diabetes initiative win awards

Trainer helps woman exercise

A national programme to tackle chronic joint pain and a local initiative supporting young people with Type 1 Diabetes have won at the prestigious Health Service Journal Value Awards.

Chronic joint pain programme ESCAPE-pain and the Youth Empowerment Service (YES) that supports 14-19 year olds with Type 1 diabetes, have won prizes at the Health Service Journal Value Awards.

ESCAPE-pain won the MSK Care Initiative of the Year. Since being on the programme , Ann, 68, is no longer in constant pain. She said: “Osteoarthritis was really impacting on my daily life as I had to ask for help to do everyday tasks around the home. My life has significantly changed since I completed the course and I’ve continued to do the exercises and now I no longer have any pain and I live a very active life.”

ESCAPE-pain (Enabling Self-management and Coping with Arthritic Pain using Exercise) is a national programme offering face-to-face and online exercises to help people suffering from chronic joint pain. Driven by the NHS’s Health Innovation Network, in south London, and backed by Sport England and in association with Versus Arthritis, roll-out of the programme has been supported by the national Academic Health Science Network. Prior to Covid-19, the programme was running in 295 sites and has helped 19,300 participants since it started.

ESCAPE-pain programme originator Professor Mike Hurley said:

“The judges were clearly impressed with the general ethos of the programme about self-management, its effectiveness and benefits that it brings to individuals and the healthcare system as a whole. We hope the award gives a boost to ESCAPE-pain that we believe can make a major contribution to the post-Covid-19 NHS ‘reset’.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Youth Empowerment Skills (YES) programme, which is supported by the HIN, runs vital programmes for 14-19 years-olds with Type 1 Diabetes. It won the HSJ Diabetes Care Initiative of the Year.

YES programme Lead Dr Dulmini Kariyawasam, consultant at Guy’s and St.Thomas’ Foundation Trust , said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been named as the winners in the Diabetes Care Initiative of the Year 2020! The positive impact of this award will help to create a long-lasting legacy and bolster our efforts to expand the YES programme across London giving every young person living with Type 1 diabetes in London access to the programme.”

“The HIN seeks to speed up the spread and adoption of evidence-based innovation in health and care so both these award-winning projects highlight the value of our work to improve lives. A huge well done to both teams. ”Health Innovation Network Chief Executive Zoe Lelliott

The Health Innovation Network’s Diabetes team Project Manager, Ellen Pirie, said:

“Young people suffering with Type 1 Diabetes face many challenges and the YES programme offers them practical support on issues such as food, sexual health and handling a diabetic seizure. There are also opportunities to go on social outings and try out new skills such as driving and rock-climbing and it’s this peer support network building that I know participants really benefit from.”

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New tech: Diabetes Book and Learn launch self-referral

Technology-led service gives thousands of south Londoners quicker access to free NHS diabetes education

Today, World Diabetes Day, the NHS in south London is launching a new service for people living with Type 2 diabetes to make it easier than ever to access vital support. An innovative new service from the NHS, Diabetes Book & Learn, will now allow people to self-refer for diabetes support courses rather than go through their GP. These courses will help them manage their condition better and significantly decrease their risk of serious complications (such as blindness and amputations). The service also increases choice for south Londoners, who will be able to access expert support through face-to-face courses or online programmes and book themselves onto their choice of course via the website or by phone.

There are over 165,000 people living with diabetes in South London (QOF 18-19).

Dr Jonty Heaversedge, NHS England, London’s Medical Director for Primary Care and Digital Transformation, said: “It’s great to see south London’s NHS, GPs, hospitals and innovators working together to bring access to practical healthcare into people’s lives using everyday technology. Diabetes Book & Learn is enabling people to not only live better, healthier lives but to stay ahead of their condition and reduce their risk of serious health complications. It couldn’t be easier to learn about how to manage your diabetes if you live in south London thanks to this service.”

Dr Neel Basudev, local south London GP and Diabetes Clinical Director of the Health Innovation Network, said: “We know lots of people who are living with Type 2 diabetes across south London either weren’t offered a place on a course when they were originally diagnosed, or for many reasons, couldn’t attend one of the limited courses that were available locally.

“We expect easy booking and online services in all other areas of our lives: we order food, arrange our home insurance, do our banking, you name it, through our smartphone. In south London, we are leading the way in making sure that people can access vital support for their diabetes just as easily – it’s just a few clicks or a phone call away.

“We have opened up support for people with Type 2 diabetes. Now you can book yourself onto any one of the courses available across all 12 south London boroughs or online. I’d encourage anyone living with Type 2 diabetes to book onto a course today and find out how to better manage their diabetes and avoid serious complications.”

Roz Rosenblatt, Head of London Region at Diabetes UK, said: “Thousands of people in the south London community can book on to a course which offers significant benefits. All it takes is a few clicks on the Book & Learn website or by phone and anyone living with Type 2 diabetes in this area can join a course that will improve their knowledge and confidence, plus help them take control of their diabetes and live well for longer.”

The aim of these specifically designed courses is for people living with Type 2 diabetes to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence, enabling them to take increasing control of their condition and integrate effective self-management into their daily lives. These courses help people to take control of their diabetes through learning more about their condition and they also provide valuable peer support.

The courses have been clinically proven to have a positive impact on individuals including:

  • Lowering average blood glucose levels, thereby reducing the risk of complications
  • Reducing cholesterol and blood pressure levels
  • Improving levels of physical activity
  • Improving understanding of diabetes and self-management skills
  • Weight reduction.

Despite these benefits, attendance across south London is low. The National Diabetes Audit data shows in 2017-18, 77.3 percent of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes were offered a place on a structured education course, but only 9.4 percent of those people attended.  There are many reasons for this major gap between those eligible and offered a place and those attendance including; limited choice in location and timing of courses being offered. Allowing people to self-refer via Diabetes Book & Learn means that people can book onto a course when and where suits them, including an option to complete a course entirely online.

Read more about this vital service at  and for more information please contact


Cutting-edge technology transforms diabetes care across south London

Cutting-edge technology transforms diabetes care across south London

L-R: Tara Donelly, Chief Digital Officer, NHSX; Oliver Brady, Head of Diabetes Transformation, South West London Health and Care Partnership; Karen Broughton, Director of Strategy and Transformation, South West London Health and Care Partnership; Vicky Parker, Programme Lead, London Diabetes Clinical Network and Ben McGough, Workstream Lead – Digital, NHS Diabetes Programme.

South London clinicians and partner organisations gathered together at Guy’s Hospital last night (30 October) to launch a brand-new diabetes service called You & Type 2.

After receiving over £500,000 funding from the NHS Test Bed programme, the You & Type 2 service is now being piloted across south London. The service combines innovative technology, improved access to services and a personalised approach.

The ambition of the project is help people living with Type 2 diabetes to have happier and healthier lives by enabling them to have more control over their care.

Designed to provide a range of further education, support and resources, You & Type 2 enables patients to work with their healthcare provider to produce a unique care plan. Part of the service is an app that will allow patients to access and update their care plan when it suits them and receive personalised videos containing recent test results, which will prepare them for informed discussions with clinicians.

Healthcare professionals using the service can update the app in real time, offering tailored support to patients. This means they are equipped to deliver the best patient-centred care, with the support of innovative technology that is linked to personal health data and individual goals.

Thirty-five GP surgeries across south London are now piloting the service, which is expected to be rolled out more widely in 2020. Clinicians who are already using the service have reported improved knowledge and skills, alongside greater job satisfaction and increased levels of team work. So far, over 1000 patients have already created their own care plans, working closely with their healthcare professionals to make something personal and meaningful to them.

A group shot of the partners involved in the You & Type 2 service

Speaking from the service launch event last night at Guys Hospital, local GP Dr Neel Basudev, Clinical Lead for You & Type 2, said: “This is such an exciting and different way to treat people living with type 2 diabetes. We know that being diagnosed and living with a long-term condition can feel overwhelming, but by using innovative technologies and working collaboratively with patients, this service helps them to overcome difficulties and improve their overall health and happiness.

“This is an exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to see how this develops and the impact it has on people’s lives, not only in my practice, but in practices across south London.”

Victoria Parker, Programme Lead for London Diabetes Clinical Network, NHS England, said: “This is such an innovative digital service and I’m happy to be here for the launch. The NHS long term plan speaks of personalisation and patient centred care.

“This service captures the essence of the long-term plan but also pushes it to a new level, offering better care and support for those with Type 2 diabetes as well as creating a model of care for any long term condition. I am excited to see where this project goes next and for the opportunities it presents for spread and adoption across London.”

For more information on the programme visit

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Making it easier for employees with Type 2 diabetes to access diabetes education courses at work

People in the workplace

Making it easier for employees with Type 2 diabetes to access diabetes education courses at work

In the second phase of the ‘Think Diabetes’ project, we have partnered with two London-based employers to promote diabetes structured education for employees diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Written by Don Shenker, Diabetes Senior Project Manager

Our Think Diabetes Summit held on 14 June encouraged employers to promote diabetes structured education to their workforce to support employees living with diabetes to be better informed about how to manage their condition. Our Think Diabetes report noted that less than 10% of individuals diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes who are offered structured education from their GP actually go onto access the course. One of the reasons may well be a reluctance from employees to take time off work – or not having the flexibility to fit in education around work hours.

We have recently teamed up with Transport for London (TfL) and the London Ambulance Service (LAS) to pilot access to both remote/online courses and face-to-face on-site courses for employees diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. This means any employee living with diabetes will be able to complete a course either remotely or during work time, without having to take time off. The courses will be promoted via LAS and TfL’s internal wellbeing newsletters and are being funded through the NHS Diabetes Transformation Fund.

There is good evidence that attending a structured diabetes course improves health and reduces complications by focusing on understanding diabetes, improving diet and stressing the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The pilot courses will be delivered by NHS approved providers OurPath, Oviva and Kingston NHS Foundation Trust.

In order to evaluate the pilot, we will be conducting a survey and focus group for course attendees and tracking anonymised BMI and weight data. It is hoped that around 100 employees will access a course either remotely or on-site. Key questions will focus on whether this approach via the workplace made it any easier to attend a course and what further steps employers could take to promote education for employees living with diabetes. We will also evaluate the level of demand for the courses and which category of workers have attended or asked for a course.

The pilot went live on 1 October and results will be available in March 2020.

For further information, contact Don Shenker, Diabetes Project Manager (