People living with Type 2 diabetes in Southwark will now be able to refer themselves to specialist support courses rather than going through their GP.
The launch of the new ‘Diabetes Book & Learn’ services coincided with Thursday’s World Diabetes Day (November 14), raising awareness of both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
It is hoped the new scheme will help people manage their condition and reduce the risk of serious complications, such as blindness and amputation.
The project, from NHS Health Innovation Network, also aims to up attendance by making the courses easier to book and more flexible, with face-to-face or online options. All can be booked by phone or using the dedicated website.
According to the latest estimates, 23,812 people across the borough have a Type 2 diabetes.
The specialist support courses for patients are proven to lead to lower blood glucose levels, reduced cholesterol and blood pressure, improving levels of physical activity, better self-management skills, and weight loss and also offer peer support.
But despite clear benefits, take-up across London is low. Although more than two-thirds of those diagnosed with the condition are offered a place on a structured course, only 9.4 per cent attended.
Dr Jonty Heaversedge, NHS England, London’s medical director for primary care and digital transformation, said: “It’s great to see south London’s NHS, GPs, hospitals and innovators working together to bring access to practical health care into people’s lives using everyday technology.
“Diabetes Book & Learn is enabling people to not only live better, healthier lives but to stay ahead of their condition and reduce their risk of serious health complications.
“It couldn’t be easier to learn about how to manage your diabetes if you live in south London thanks to this service.”