Nick Abbot 12am - 1am
NHS soup and shake diet programme rolled out to help tackle diabetes
1 September 2020, 10:25 | Updated: 1 September 2020, 15:21
Diabetics will be encouraged to try a soup and shakes weight-loss plan as the health service steps up efforts to tackle a condition that costs the NHS billions a year.
Some 5,000 patients will get access to the diet programme after NHS England said results from a trial showed almost half of people who undertook the plan saw their type 2 diabetes go into remission after a year.
As part of the year-long plan, patients who have been diagnosed with the condition in the last six years and meet other eligibility criteria will be given so-called "total diet replacement products" such as shakes and soups for three months.
Alongside this, they will be supported to increase their exercise levels, and helped to reintroduce ordinary, nutritious food to their diets, with ongoing advice from clinicians and coaches.
NHS England said that as well as helping people live happier, healthier lives, more action to tackle obesity and diabetes will save the health service money and free up staff time.
Read more: Finally! Back to school and work
Earlier this summer, it was announced people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes would be able to self-refer to specialist services in a bid to curb one of the biggest risk factors in Covid-19 deaths.
A third of people who died in hospital with the virus had diabetes, according to Public Health England data, and more than 12.3 million people in the UK are at risk of developing the disease.
The diet programme will be rolled out initially to patients in 10 areas of England.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, said: "This is the latest example of how the NHS, through our Long-Term Plan, is rapidly adopting the latest evidence-based treatments to help people stay well, maintain a healthy weight and avoid major diseases.
"There has never been a more important time to lose weight and put their type 2 diabetes into remission, so it's good news for thousands of people across the country that practical, supportive measures like this are increasingly available on the NHS."
Bridget Turner, director of policy campaigns and improvement at Diabetes UK, said the programme is "an important first step" for patients to access a remission programme within the NHS.
She said: "We know that some people with type 2 diabetes want and need support from healthcare professionals to lose weight effectively, and now as these programmes are piloted across the NHS they will.
"People with type 2 diabetes who have put their diabetes into remission frequently tell us how it has changed their lives.
"We are so pleased to see that others will now have the same opportunity and hope that it won't be too long before more remission programmes are rolled out across the country."