More than three-quarters of Clinical Commissioning Groups in England have now submitted joint expressions of interest in partnership with 132 local authorities to take part in the first phase of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

Around five million people in England are estimated to be at high risk of developing type II diabetes, placing a huge stain on healthcare resources, but the majority of these cases could be prevented through lifestyle interventions. 

To that end, the NHS DPP - a joint commitment from NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK - is seeking to identify those at greatest risk and refer them into an evidence-based behavioural intervention to help stave off the disease.

Data from randomised controlled trials in Finland, the USA, Japan, China and India show 30-60 percent reductions in Type II diabetes incidence over three years in adults at high risk through intensive lifestyle change programme interventions, indicating the potential of such action.

Seven demonstrator sites* were chosen in March this year to take part in the initial phase of the programme, focusing on weight loss, physical activity, cooking and nutrition, peer support and telephone/online support from trained professionals to improve lifestyles.

Now, for the first phase of the national roll-out, 78 percent of CCGs and 86 percent of local authorities have submitted joint applications, which are currently being considered by the NHS DPP.

A 'great opportunity'

“Having seen the level of interest it heightens our confidence that across the country we can deliver an effective programme which will prevent or delay people at high risk of type Ii diabetes from developing it,” said Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes.

“The Programme offers a great opportunity for health and local government to work well together, make a big impact and really change people’s lives for the better.”

Diabetes currently costs the NHS £1.5 million an hour, and 80% of this is for treating largely preventable complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney failure and stroke. Further underscoring the need for action, Diabetes UK points out that the condition already accounts for about 10 percent of the NHS budget, but this figure is expected to grow to 17 percent over the next 20 years because of demographic changes and obesity levels.

*Birmingham South and Central CCG, Bradford City CCG, Durham County Council, Herefordshire CCG/LA, Medway CCG/LA, Salford CCG/LA, Southwark Council and CCG