The second wave of the Healthier You programme was launched last month, expanding the scheme to cover an additional 25% of the population, with an estimated 130,000 referrals and up to 50,000 additional places made available through the expansion.
The first wave of the programme, run collaboratively by NHS England, Public Health England (PHE) and Diabetes UK, was launched last year covering 27 areas and 26m people – almost half the country.
NHS England said ‘good progress’ had been made so far, with just under 50,000 referred in wave 1 and more than 18,000 on the programme as of the end of April, far exceeding the target of 10,000 referrals during 2017/18 set out in the NHS Mandate.
The wave 2 sites include Milton Keynes, Oxford, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.
NHS England wants the programme to cover the entire country by 2018/19, with capacity for 200,000 referrals and 80,000 people on programmes.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England’s national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, said: ‘Tackling diabetes is one of the biggest healthcare challenges of our time, as the number of people with type 2 diabetes continues to rise.
‘The NHS, along with its partners, is going to great lengths to help keep those with diabetes healthy. It is crucial that we have an integrated approach to tackling not just the prevention of type 2 diabetes but also the successful management of all forms of diabetes and it is essential that we support the spread of evidence based interventions to help reduce the harm that diabetes can cause.’