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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 (don.shenker@nsh.net)