GP workload warning as NHS rolls out diabetes prevention programme

An NHS diabetes programme that aims to make England the 'best country on the planet' at preventing the disease must not increase the 'bureaucratic burden' on GPs, the GPC has warned.

Obesity: diabetes prevention scheme to offer weight-loss support
Obesity: diabetes prevention scheme to offer weight-loss support

The national initiative to prevent diabetes will test schemes at seven ‘demonstrator’ sites, targeting 10,000 at-risk people, before rolling out successful schemes nationally.

NHS England says the programme will explore schemes for ‘weight loss, physical activity, cooking and nutrition, peer support, plus telephone and online support from trained professionals’.

The schemes could also drive an increase in GP screening for patients at risk of diabetes. Bradford City CCG will be sending a letter to all South Asian patients over 25 and white patients over 40, inviting them to see their GP for a blood test. Around 8,700 people in the city are thought to be at risk of the condition.

GP workload

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair and chair of the GPC, said the programme ‘must avoid producing any additional bureaucratic burden on GP services and the wider NHS'.

‘GP services are in the frontline of treating this condition and GPs will welcome any initiative which seeks to reduce its effects on the nation’s health,’ he said.

‘We do need to ensure that this programme enables all patients to access appropriate preventative treatments and empowers clinicians to help design the correct services.’

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: ‘For over a decade we've known that obesity prevention cuts diabetes and saves lives. If these results were from a pill we'd doubtless be popping it, but instead this programme succeeds by supporting people to lose weight, exercise and eat better.

‘So today we commit to becoming the most successful country on the planet at implementing this evidence-based national diabetes prevention programme.’

The seven ‘demonstrator’ sites are:

  • Birmingham South and Central CCG
  • Bradford City CCG
  • Durham County Council
  • Herefordshire CCG/LA
  • Medway CCG/LA
  • Salford CCG/LA
  • Southwark & Lambeth Councils
  • Southwark CCG. 

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