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Leicester professors urge NHS to tackle diabetes before its too late

Two leading Leicester professors have urged the NHS to take action on the type 2 diabetes “ticking time bomb”.

Professor Melanie Davies CBE, who has been a consultant in the city for more than 20 years, wants the national health service to urgently start rolling out structured education to those at risk of or who already have the condition.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition which puts a huge burden on patients to manage lifestyle change and often requires taking many medications.

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Professors Melanie Davies and Kamlesh Khunti
Structured education, which provide attendees vital support to manage this long term condition, has been proven to improve key outcomes, reduce the onset of complications and is cost effective or even cost saving.

Professor Melanie Davies CBE, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester and Co-Director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, a partnership and collaboration between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester, said: “In the last two years there has been a number of high-quality research publications that have consolidated the evidence for the effectiveness of structured self-management education and has even shown that good evidence based programmes can save lives.

“They have all shown strong evidence that adopting this approach for people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, or who have already been diagnosed, benefit from improved health outcomes and are less likely to die prematurely. 

“However the research shows that it is only these programmes which have been tried and tested and shown to work in research which lead to the most effective outcomes for patients.”

Evidence based patient education and self-management programmes are cost-effective, improve wellbeing and clinical outcomes, decreases A1c, improves patients knowledge and reduces burden of this long term condition on an individual.

Professor Kasmlesh Khunti, who is also Co-Director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, added: “We already know that type 2 figures is a ticking time health bomb, with figures significantly rising year on year.

“Not only is the condition a health issue, but it’s also a financial drain on the NHS. As all the research indicates structured education can significantly make a difference, I urge all NHS decision makers to start incorporating it among their treatment pathways before it’s too late.”

There are several different structured education programmes available for people to follow. One, which has had much success with people, is the Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Diagnosed (Desmond) programme.

Launched in 2003, Desmond was designed to support people who already have type 2 diabetes the skills necessary to live with the condition. It was developed by researchers based at the Leicester Diabetes Centre, recently named an ‘International Centre of Excellence’ and an ‘International Centre of Education’ by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

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