A leading diabetes doctor from Blackburn with Darwen has welcomed an announcement that people who are at risk of developing the condition can now access support digitally.
Dr Amar Ali, the diabetes lead for NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said the new digital stream of the diabetes prevention programme would make it more accessible and appealing to thousands of people in the borough.
The GP whose practice is based at Barbara Castle Health Centre said: “Over 16,000 people are at risk of developing diabetes in Blackburn with Darwen, so we want to do as much as we can to bring those numbers down.”
Dr Ali was speaking in a blog for NHS England after it announced that it had teamed up with Public Health England, Diabetes UK and leading companies from the tech sector as the battle against obesity and Type 2 diabetes went digital.
More than 5,000 people are expected to benefit from a pilot project which will see five companies and eight areas of the country test drive a range of apps, gadgets, wristbands and other innovative digital products, which starts this month.
Users will be able to access health coaches and online support groups as well as set and monitor goals electronically. Some patients will also receive wearable technology to help them monitor activity levels and receive motivational messages and prompts, which is being made available on the NHS for the first time.
Dr Ali said the face to face sessions were doing well but the new digital pilot would appeal to a much wider audience who have busy lives and prefer to do things online from the comfort of their own home.
He added: “The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) face to face sessions are having early success, with a large uptake attending sessions. We anticipate this will grow even more with the roll out of the digital pilot.
“It’s good to see NHS England expanding its reach to attract the tech savvy population who find they’re short of time or that they simply prefer to do things online, because it works better for them. It’s brilliant as we’re tapping into more people who can take advantage of the help and support being offered.
“For patients who are working and have a busy home and family life, managing health conditions online are much more attractive than having to spend time away at class room type education sessions. Accessing this service online allows them to move at a pace they are comfortable with at a time that suits them best.”
“Offering the programme online will open it up to more people and make it more accessible, thus given the NHS DPP wider appeal. For patients the digital pilot opens up a more convenient and accessible platform. Content can be reviewed at their own pace and when they have time. It’s hoped it will increase overall activity and allow people to take charge of a potential life changing disease.
“Keeping well for longer will ease pressure on already very busy NHS services, outcomes for our area will get better and people will have a better quality of life. Most importantly, in time this should show a lower incidence of diabetes in the area than the current rate of progression.”
For further information, log onto www.blackburnwithdarwenccg.nhs.uk/news