The NHS has announced the roll out of digital diabetes prevention as part of NHS Long Term Plan.

NHS England has announced that ‘thousands’ of people who are at risk of Type II diabetes will receive digital support to prevent them developing the condition as part of the plan.

Pilot schemes have already been tested, offering convenient, 24/7 access to online advice which significantly boosted the numbers taking up the flagship Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP).

Almost seven in 10 people (68%) referred to digital schemes took part compared with around half of those offered face-to-face support, and up to a fifth of places on NHS England’s flagship Diabetes Prevention Programme, around 40,000 a year, will be delivered digitally.

People who are at risk of developing Type II but who cannot make face-to-face support sessions will be the first to benefit from the expansion which starts this month, and will receive wearable tech that monitors levels of exercise (such as apps which allow users to access health coaches and educational content), and online peer support groups, with the ability to set and monitor goals electronically.

The announcement comes with the news that the Diabetes Prevention Programme, which has already helped thousands of people lose a combined 132,000 pounds, will be doubled so that 200,000 people every year can access it. The NHS has also announced that it will trial very low calorie diets that can reverse Type II.

Dr Jennifer Smith, diabetes programme director, Public Health England said that the success of the pilot’s early findings shows they are “breaking new ground to help those most at risk of Type II diabetes to literally take their health into their own hands at their own time and pace. Many of us use on-the-go digital technology every day and this is a fabulous next step in diabetes prevention.”

Diabetes is one of the greatest public health problems facing the NHS and country, with almost four million people in England having Type II.

One in six hospital beds in England are occupied by someone with Type II diabetes, which leads to more than 9,000 amputations each year and the NHS spends more than £6 billion annually treating the condition and its complications.