Pioneering new programme shows Devon leading the way in diabetes prevention

Help and support through group and one-to-one sessions

Posted on: 13 June 2018

An innovative new programme to prevent people in Devon developing Type 2 diabetes, has been launched this week by Exminster-based charity Westbank Community Health and Care (Westbank), to mark National Diabetes Week (11-17 June).

In Devon there are around 79,000 people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.   However, many of the risk factors associated with developing Type 2 diabetes are preventable through lifestyle changes.

Healthier Devon is a new support programme for people at the highest risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Once referred by their GP, these people will receive sustained help over a two-year period to make positive changes to their lifestyle, through a combination of one-to-one and group sessions.

Sarah Miller, Healthier Devon Facilitator at Westbank, said: “Our supportive programme will include sessions on healthy eating, nutrition and cooking, exercise, and positive mental wellbeing.  Participants will create realistic goals which we will help them to work towards over the 2-year programme.”

Healthier Devon has been commissioned by Devon County Council in partnership with the Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund (Bridges), with support from the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery funding. The programme will be coordinated by Westbank, and will work on a payment-by-results basis – so payments are only made if there is a measurable drop in the number of patients developing Type 2 diabetes.

Jaine Keable, Westbank Head of Health and Wellbeing, said:

“Healthier Devon will provide participants with the knowledge, ability and confidence to make changes to their lifestyle so they get the best chance of reducing their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”

Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Roger Croad, said: “This programme, which is the first of its type in the UK offering two years of sustained support, has the potential to make a significant impact on the health of our local population.

“Diabetes is one of the biggest preventable diseases, both nationally and in Devon.  By tackling it early enough, the programme not only enables people to turn their health outcomes around in the short term, but also provides the support to help people sustain long-term changes to their lifestyle, and their health.”

Mila Lukic, partner at Bridges, said:

“We think this programme can give Westbank more resources and more flexibility to tailor its support to individual needs. This should deliver better health outcomes for people in Devon at risk of developing this condition – which over time will also reduce the demand on local primary and secondary care services.”

Patients who are eligible to join Healthier Devon will be referred for an appointment by their GP surgery through the Devon Referral Support Service.

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