Maintaining diabetes structured education courses across south London

The Health Innovation Network (HIN) has worked with partners across the two south London Integrated care systems (ICS’s) to expand the provision of Diabetes structured education services to include digital and remote options to help manage the condition remotely.

Project overview

At the start of the pandemic, a significant challenge was created when diabetes structured education courses, which are predominantly delivered in person to groups, were cancelled at a time when people with diabetes were known to be at higher risk from Covid-19 and self-management training became more important because of the impact on primary care services.

Referral numbers and bookings for structured education courses, which had increased with the introduction of Diabetes Book & Learn in 2018, dropped significantly as the pandemic started and providers were unable to deliver face-to-face courses in their usual way.

We supported colleagues in south London CCGs to increase the supply of digital courses and to offer these to all patients who had been booked for face-to-face education and new referrals. We also worked with provider organisations who normally deliver face-to-face education courses such as DESMOND and X-PERT to trial delivery of the courses via video conferencing.

“ The HIN has been a key factor in supporting structured education across south London to resume during Covid ”Chris Gumble, Project Manager – Long Term Conditions, South West London CCG

We made a number of changes to the Book & Learn platform due to the pandemic working with Spirit Healthcare our technical partner.

As a result of our work on the Diabetes Book & Learn platform during the pandemic we have supported providers to deliver this service via video conferencing for the first time, with many of them planning to continue to use this mode of delivery permanently.

Our evaluation demonstrates we also significantly increased the uptake of digital courses during this time with more than 1,200 south Londoners accessing a digital course since March, compared with around 500 people in the 6 months prior to March.

We hope to continue to scale up the number of video structured education courses offered in south London over the coming months to return us to pre-pandemic levels of activity while also supporting provider organisations to return to face-to-face delivery in a safe way when the time is right.

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Key achievements

  • More than 1,200 south Londoners accessing a digital course since March,
  • Supported providers across south London to deliver Diabetes Book & Learn via video conferencing for the first time.
  • Many of the structured education suppliers are planning to continue to use this mode of delivery permanently.