People with diabetes in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being urged to book their places on free NHS courses.
The move – highlighted as part of World Diabetes Day on 14 November – is among a number of measures being put in place following a £1.5m Government investment in diabetes education and prevention across the local area.
The Desmond courses (Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) - were originally started for those who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last year. The investment means they are now open to anyone who has not previously attended a Desmond course. They take place at venues across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
The day-long courses, which help patients understand how to manage their condition, are set to double in number from 52 to 104 over the next year. They can be accessed via referral from a GP.
The investment means Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) has been able to recruit further specialist diabetes staff and will be working with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commission Group, local GPs, and Diabetes UK on a number of awareness programmes.
Maria Cowell, clinical lead for diabetes at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The courses can make a massive difference to people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. They help them understand their condition and about their diet and lifestyle. Being diagnosed with diabetes is a serious health condition but there is clear evidence that people who learn how to manage their condition don’t have to keep going back to their GP for advice and also reduce the need for more complex treatment related to their diabetes in the future.”
There are also additional courses available for people with type 1 diabetes. The courses, called PDAC (Peterborough Dose Adjustment Course) in Peterborough and called DAFNE (DoseAdjustment for Normal Eating) in Huntingdonshire and Cambridge, can be accessed through a referral from your GP practice or from the diabetes specialist team.
Overall, an estimated 57,000 people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are thought to have diabetes which can cause serious long-term health problems. Diabetes is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people of working age and is responsible for most cases of kidney failure and lower limb amputation, other than accidents. People with diabetes are also up to five times more likely to have cardiovascular disease, such as a stroke, than those without the condition.
Diabetes symptoms can include feeling very thirsty, urinating more frequently, and weight loss. Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days while many people have Type 2 diabetes for years without realising because the early symptoms tend to be general.
Diabetes is a serious condition, and there is strong evidence that shows that if people maintain a healthy weight and are more active, they can significantly reduce their risk of developing the condition. In order to help people reduce their risk of developing diabetes, the local NHS has been promoting its ‘Healthier You’ programme. More than 3,200 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have been referred to free Healthier You classes which support people to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Anyone who is at high risk can be referred by their GP practice on to the programme. The Healthier You sessions are available in several areas across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and there are both day time and evening sessions available. The classes cover nutrition and exercise and suggested behavioural changes to maintain a healthy weight and become more physically active.
Dr Mark Brookes, CCG clinical lead for diabetes said: “You can find out if you are at risk of developing diabetes through a simple health check and blood test at your GP surgery. It’s important to do this because if you are found to be at risk, simple lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the onset of diabetes.”
As part of plans to improve local services, people with diabetes along with their friends and family can share their experiences at two events being hosted by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, Diabetes UK, and local NHS providers of diabetes services.
They take place at Cambridge United FC on Thursday 23 November and Peterborough United FC on Wednesday 29 November. Both events take place from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
To book a place on one of the Diabetes engagement events please call Diabetes UK on: 01376 501390, email Eastern@diabetes.org.uk.