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Health Matters - World Diabetes Day

Health Matters - World Diabetes Day
15 November 2017

Dr Paul Bowen, clinical chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, and GP with McIlvride Medical Practice, Poynton

As it’s World Diabetes Day on 14 November, I thought I’d use this week’s column to tell you about a Congleton pensioner whose life has been transformed by following a course for people at risk of developing diabetes.

Michael Blake lost two stone in just 10 weeks after joining the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. Having been referred by his GP at Readesmoor Medical Centre, he joined 19 other people attending weekly sessions at Congleton’s Masonic Hall to get expert advice from ICS Health and Wellbeing on diet, exercise and healthy lifestyles.

He reduced his carbohydrate input by half, after discovering that more than 50 per cent of his diet was made up of carbs. In addition he used a Carbs and Calories App to calculate his carbs and calories, helping him to monitor his daily food input and keep on the straight and narrow.


We applied to join the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme because there are more than 9,000 people, or around one in 20, living with type 2 diabetes in Eastern Cheshire.

Residents can find out if they are among the five million people nationwide at risk of type 2 diabetes by visiting and answering a series of simple questions. People whose answers show them to be at moderate to high risk should contact their practice nurse or GP to arrange the necessary blood tests. Depending on what the tests reveal, the practice will then refer the patient to the Healthier You service.

Those referred onto the programme get tailored, personalised help to reduce their risk. Support includes education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes.


The nine-month intervention starts with a one-hour, one-to-one counselling and advice appointment followed by a series of group sessions. Each participant’s progress is reviewed every three months with a health and wellbeing coach.

Programmes are offered throughout Eastern Cheshire. Anyone wanting more information on Healthier You before contacting their GP practice should call freephone 0800 043 9806 from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Thursday, or 8am to 5pm on Fridays.

The programme is suitable for people who have been diagnosed with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia, previously known as pre-diabetes, borderline diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, impaired glucose regulation or impaired fasting glycaemia.

Every year, type 2 diabetes causes around 22,000 early deaths in England. If current trends continue, 70 per cent of people will be overweight or obese in 20 years’ time and one in 10 of us will develop type 2 diabetes. It also costs the NHS £8.8bn, or almost 10 per cent of its budget.