From today thousands of people will be able to access NHS soup and shake weight-loss plans to tackle type 2 diabetes.
The diet and lifestyle plans have been shown to put Type 2 diabetes into remission for people recently diagnosed with the condition, and will now be provided to 5,000 more patients in 10 areas as the first stage in an NHS drive to increase access to the life-changing programme.
Diabetes is estimated to cost the NHS £10 billion a year, while almost one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs is for diabetes treatment.
The year-long plans will see those who could benefit provided with ‘total diet replacement products’, such as shakes and soups, for three months, alongside support to increase their exercise levels.
To help people maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid complications linked to obesity patients will also be offered managed plans for reintroducing ordinary, nutritious food, with ongoing support from clinicians and coaches after that.
Results from one trial showed almost half of those who went on the diet achieved remission of their Type 2 diabetes after one year.
NHS research earlier this year revealed people with Type 2 diabetes are two times more at risk of dying from coronavirus.
A further study published last week by the University of North Carolina found that people with obesity are 113% more likely to be admitted to hospital with coronavirus and 74% more likely to need intensive care treatment.
As well as helping individuals lead happier and healthier lives, enhanced action on obesity and diabetes is also expected to save the NHS money and free up staff time.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity said: “This is the latest example of how the NHS, through our Long Term Plan, is rapidly adopting the latest evidence-based treatments to help people stay well, maintain a healthy weight and avoid major diseases.
“There has never been a more important time to lose weight and put their Type 2 diabetes into remission, so it’s good news for thousands of people across the country that practical, supportive measures like this are increasingly available on the NHS.”
Bev, who was one of the first patients to benefit from the diets during trials, said: “My goal for the first eight weeks of the low calorie diet was to lose 5% of my body weight – which I achieved in six weeks – and in total I’ve lost over 10kgs, my Type 2 diabetes is now in remission and I no longer have to take any medication – I am over the moon.
“Since the low-calorie diet programme, my mind set has totally changed for the better and I look at food differently now – my shopping habits are far healthier and, when I eat out, I’ll go for a healthier option. The programme has taught me moderation.
“My skin is clearer, and people say that I’ve got my sparkle back – I didn’t realise that I’d lost it but now I see that I definitely had. I can honestly say that the low-calorie diet programme changed my life for the better.”
The sites rolling out the low-calorie diet programme are:
- North East and Yorkshire: South
- Yorkshire & Bassetlaw ICS, and Humber Coast & Vale STP
- North West: Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership
- South East: Frimley Health and Care STP
- South West: Gloucestershire STP
- Midlands (West and East): Derbyshire STP, and Birmingham and Solihull STP
- East of England: Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) ICS
- London: North East London, and North Central London
Bridget Turner, Director of Policy Campaigns and Improvement at Diabetes UK, said: ”This is an important first step to ensure that people with type 2 diabetes, can access a remission programme within the NHS and benefit from the ground-breaking findings of the Diabetes UK funded DiRECT research.
“We know that some people with type 2 diabetes want and need support from health care professionals to lose weight effectively and now as these programmes are piloted across the NHS – they will.
“People with type 2 diabetes who have put their diabetes into remission frequently tell us how it has changed their lives. We are so pleased to see that others will now have the same opportunity and hope that it won’t be too long before more remission programmes are rolled out across the country.”
Sites across the country will test evidence from the original trials in a ‘real world’ implementation during a 12-month treatment course.
People living with Type 2 diabetes who have been diagnosed with the condition in the last six years will be considered for the pilots.
Individuals must also meet other eligibility criteria to be referred to the service to ensure the programme is right for them.