New DESMOND programme improves access to education for type 2 diabetes patients

The nationally recognised diabetes programme DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) today announced the recent launch of the new ‘Foundation' module, an education programme for people with established type 2 diabetes to complement the existing module for those newly diagnosed.

Spring 2008 will also see the launch of a version of the ‘Newly Diagnosed' module for people from the South Asian community, which is tailored to their culturally-specific needs. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is five times higher in the South Asian community compared to that of the Caucasian population. As a result of an educational grant provided by pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme, additional places on the award-winning DESMOND training and ongoing quality development programme will be made available for educators to deliver all three DESMOND programmes.

A survey of diabetes patients showed that in some areas, only 11% had participated in a course to help manage their diabetes[i] and 85% of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) still do not have arrangements for providing education programmes for patients in their area, according to a recent Healthcare Commission Audit Report.[ii] Making support and structured group education available to people with long term conditions, such as diabetes, is a crucial resource in order to help them care for themselves, and for this reason, is central to the Government's policy for diabetes.[iii]

"We are pleased to expand the programme at this time, when the efforts of the DESMOND collaborative are being invested in developing the ‘ongoing' part of our programme - the lifelong cycle of learning and support which people with diabetes need and expect from their care providers. We hope that our new modules will give PCTs the means to provide the knowledge and skills that enable people with diabetes to engage in the ongoing learning process that is so vital to living with this chronic condition," commented Dr Marian Carey, National Director, DESMOND Programme.

A recent study has provided proof that the DESMOND programme supports participants to make and sustain positive lifestyle choices particularly in terms of smoking cessation, greater levels of physical activity and weight loss as well as improving other areas such as reducing depression rates and lowering overall cardiovascular risk.[iv] Whilst education at the point of receiving a diagnosis of diabetes is critical, people need to have the opportunity to ‘top-up' their skills and knowledge, to maintain confidence and belief in their ability to self-manage their disease successfully.

Professor Melanie Davies, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester and founder of the DESMOND Collaborative commented, "Type 2 diabetes is a complex condition often requiring a complicated management plan incorporating various medications and important lifestyle adjustments, which many patients may find overwhelming, particularly at diagnosis. This can result in people continuing with poor metabolic control, increased cardiovascular risk factors and excess anxiety and depression. This ultimately puts patients at increased risk of serious complications, such as heart disease and kidney problems."

The diabetes epidemic currently affects over 2.3 million people in the UK[v] and is set to rise exponentially over the next few decades, predominantly driven by obesity and an ageing population.[vi] New targets for achieving better metabolic control amongst other measures are expected to come into force in the coming months with the advent of updated NICE guidelines, aimed at improving the overall management of type 2 diabetes.[vii]

Professor Davies added, "With up to 8 out of 10 patients currently not managing to control blood glucose and cardiovascular risk factors at the levels NICE will advocate, we need to take an holistic approach - what is required is a combined approach encompassing patient education, access to services and best use of medicines."

The DESMOND programme is a structured group education programme which encourages patients to set personal goals in managing their condition. The unrestricted educational grant from Merck Sharp & Dohme will support the training of 22 new educators in ‘Newly Diagnosed' and ‘Foundation' modules and 24 educators and interpreters to deliver the ‘South Asian' DESMOND module over the course of the next three years.


For further information, please contact:

Georgie Griffith
Cohn & Wolfe
Office: 020 7331 5369

Louise Barr
Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited
Office: 01992 452126

About the DESMOND Collaborative -


[i] The Views of People with Diabetes 2006, Healthcare Commission
[ii] 2007 State of Healthcare Report, Healthcare Commission
[iii] NICE HTA for patient education models for diabetes, Department of Health
[iv] Davies MJ, Heller S, Skinner TC et al. Effectiveness of the diabetes education and self management for ingoing and newly diagnosed (DESMOND) programme for people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes: cluster randomised controlled trial. February 2008
[v] Diabetes UK. What is diabetes? (Accessed February 2008)
[vi] Diabetes: Finding excellence (Accessed February 2008)
[vii] Type 2 Diabetes (update): national clinical guideline for the management in primary and secondary care. NICE guideline, draft for consultation, September 2007

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