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Fight to prevent and manage diabetes gets funding boost

Health partners in Berkshire West are pulling no punches in the fight to prevent diabetes and help those diagnosed with the condition live lives free of related complications for as long as possible.

Already fully engaged in wave one of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme which was set up in 2016 to reduce the number of people developing Type 2 Diabetes, Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) successfully bid for over half a million pounds in extra funding from NHS England*, specifically to advance the care and treatment of those already diagnosed with diabetes and those identified as being at high risk.

Working together with colleagues from West Berkshire Council’s public health team, the £502k fund will be put to use in the following ways:

  • Expanding and enhancing the range of educational courses available to diabetics and working to increase attendance at the sessions
  • Expanding the diabetes inpatient nursing service by increasing the hours the service is available (currently 9am-5pm will be 8am til 10pm)
  • Improving the achievement of NICE recommended treatment targets for controlling blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. This can reduce the risk of complications such as kidney disease and renal failure, limb amputation and stroke and heart attacks.

Dr Paul Westcar, senior partner at Chapel Row Surgery, Bucklebury and clinical lead for diabetes at Berkshire West CCGs, said: “This is a very exciting time for diabetes care in our area. This funding allows us to offer significantly improved services which should result in better outcomes for patients with diabetes, reducing the rate of complications including amputations, kidney problems and blindness.”

There are currently 20,317 people living with diabetes in Berkshire West – up 12per cent since 2012/13 – and almost 40,000 people at risk of developing diabetes (10.5per cent of the local population).
One in six of all people in hospital nationwide have diabetes and while it is often not the reason for admission, they often need a longer stay in hospital, are more likely to be re admitted and their risk of dying is higher.

Across Berkshire West, over 4,000 people have been invited onto Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme by their GP practice since June 2016. The extra funding from NHS England will support more pre-diabetic people to get tailored, personalized help to reduce their risk of developing the disease.

Cllr James Fredrikson, West Berkshire Council’s Executive Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at West Berkshire Council, said: “It is essential we do all we can to reduce the number of people developing diabetes in the future. I would urge anyone invited to a free Healthier You session by their GP to attend. Personalised help is on offer - this includes education on healthy eating and lifestyle; help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes that can help people to regain control and beat diabetes.”

*This funding is the local allocation of a total £1.55m awarded across the 7 CCGs within Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West STP.

If you need medical help and are unsure what to do, call NHS 111 for help and advice. They are available 24 hours a day.