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.