New NHS plans home in on diabetes

15/09/2017 - 11:15
New plans from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) hone in on diabetes and the over 40’s – urging doctors to put millions on strict diets and offer “intensive lifestyle change programmes.”

Claiming every person over 40 should have an NHS diabetes check, the plans follow news that almost five million people in the UK have diabetes, which “is threatening to bankrupt the NHS” said Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum.

Other recommendations from NICE include:

  • Slimming classes and fitness sessions
  • Lifestyle coaching focussing on fitness, weight loss and nutrition
  • Teaching families about nutrition and cooking 

Fry added: “Referring high risk patients [almost 1.7 million] to slimming classes and getting them to improve their diet is crucial. It will cost upfront but it is an investment in the future. The benefit of reducing type 2 diabetes and the obesity epidemic is extremely worthwhile, both from a health and financial perspective.”

NICE has also suggested placing high-risk patients on intensive lifestyle change programmes, which officials claim would ultimately “be cost-effective for the NHS” by carrying out checks in workplaces, shops, libraries, as well as GP surgeries, pharmacies and opticians. The public are also advised to take self-assessment tests using the ‘Know Your Risk’ quiz (https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start) on the Diabetes UK website.

Speaking to The Telegraph, director of the centre for guidelines at Nice, Professor Mark Baker, said: "We know that helping someone to make simple changes to their diet and exercise levels can significantly reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. And that this approach is a cost-effective way of managing an illness that currently costs the NHS around £8.8 billion a year.

"We need to make sure that the people most at risk have access to the care they need."

Dan Howarth, from Diabetes UK, added: “Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to harrowing complications, so preventing it from developing in those at higher risk is hugely important. We welcome these updated guidelines from NICE, which recognise the importance of preventing the condition, and the serious harm it causes to those living with it.”

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