Pharmacists will play an “important role" in referring patients to a national diabetes prevention programme, C+D has learned.
NHS England said it would ask pharmacists to provide referrals and give feedback in the preventative scheme, which will roll out across seven pilot sites this year. The scheme will be extended across the country in 2016, and NHS England said it should "significantly reduce" the four million people predicted to develop type 2 diabetes by 2025.
“The delivery team will gather views of pharmacists on referrals, risk levels, programme design and follow up. Their views and understanding of their customers will be very helpful,” NHS England said when announcing the pilot sites on Wednesday (March 11).
NHS England first announced the scheme as part of its Forward View into Action in December and told C+D in January it could not confirm what role, if any, pharmacists would play.
The commissioning body revealed this week that seven "demonstrator sites" - consisting of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local authorities - would target up to 10,000 people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes through schemes that focused on weight loss, physical activity, cooking and nutrition, and support from trained professionals.
'Pinpointing' at-risk patients
The sites would also test new ways to “pinpoint” people at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, such as a programme in Bradford to target South Asian patients aged 25 and older, NHS England said.
The initiative has been co-designed with Public Health England (PHE) and Diabetes UK. PHE had commissioned two evidence reviews to support the development of the programme, which would be published in early summer, NHS England added.
Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young said “thousands of people” could benefit from the pilot schemes in the next 12 months, and the results would be “even more spectacular” when the programme was rolled out nationwide.
In January, pharmacists told C+D they backed NHS England's plans but said the programme's success depended on the sector's involvement.
The seven demonstrator sites are:
- Birmingham South and Central CCG
- Bradford City CCG
- Durham County Council
- Herefordshire CCG/LA
- Medway CCG/LA
- Salford CCG/LA
- Southwark and Lambeth councils and Southwark CCG