There are currently more than 12,000 diabetes patients in Surrey Downs. Across the Surrey Heartlands area about 40 out of every 1,000 adults has been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 and the number of patients being diagnosed nationally is rapidly increasing, adding pressure on the NHS - treatment of diabetes represents 10 per cent of the annual NHS budget.

While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes.

The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme identifies those at risk and provides free tailored, personalised help to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes including education on healthy eating and lifestyle. Patients are also encouraged to talk to their GP about having an annual health check to ensure hidden damage is not occurring.

Locally, NHS England awarded Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership £1.8m over two years to invest in transforming diabetes services. Using this funding Surrey Downs CCG launched the National Diabetes Prevention Programme in May 2017 and there have been over 1,400 referrals to date. This programme identifies those who have a high risk of developing diabetes and refers them onto a course that supports people to understand and change key behaviours, reducing their risk of developing the condition. Feedback so far has been extremely positive with weight loss reductions, reductions in blood sugar levels, greater understanding and clarity and other wellbeing benefits.

Tackling the rise in the number of people with diabetes is vital not only to support our citizens to live longer, healthier and fulfilled lives but also to support the sustainable future of the health service.

Many people will experience potentially preventable complications because of diabetes, simply because they don’t know enough about their condition and how to manage it. Our local projects are aimed at supporting people to better manage their health and signposting them to knowledgeable professionals for information and assistance when needed.