Any investment in disease prevention is a good investment. That goes without saying, which is why I was so thrilled to read about the planned expansion of NHS’s type II national diabetes prevention programme (NDPP). It’s great to see this kind of ‘indicated’ investment, which sits alongside the NHS 10 year plan: in other words, they are definitely putting money where their mouth is!
With the introduction of new NDPP online versions in July, all referrals to NDPP can choose either face-to-face or online consultations, which will include texts, apps and diary entries. This means the prevention programme will be available for people who find it difficult to physically attend sessions. This could be due to location, work/family commitments or perceived participant prejudice. Often the stigma of being lumped with people already with condition is not considered: it’s crucial for all of us to remember this is a prevention programme.
The idea is still to support people to make relevant changes to their health but via online sessions. It’s a great approach. Historically, we’ve seen this enable programmes to reach more people and improve uptake rates. Even better, the integration of all the different data collection and online systems means providers won’t struggle with a data lapse or loss.
However, with such overloaded providers, it would be great to see the current model of tracking weight gain and lack of activity, which are risk factors for type II diabetes, put into an ‘all cause’ mortality prevention plan. Diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory conditions are all still prevalent. We also have successful, existing tools like Sport England’s This Girl Can. Couldn’t we make better use of these by bringing together one online system for all? Food for thought!