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Berkshire West CCGs pledge to improve diabetes education sign-up

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Diabetes UK has welcomed a commitment from local health chiefs to offer diabetes education courses to help people living with diabetes understand and manage their condition.

The Berkshire West CCGs are among the first in the country to make this bold pledge:

“That within the next five years, our ambition is to have 50% of our newly diagnosed people with diabetes participating in a structured education course in their first year. We would like to do this by exploring a wider variety of educational options, including ‘online’ courses which may become available in the future.“

The pledge is part of ‘Taking Control’ which is Diabetes UK’s campaign to increase education for people with diabetes. Local courses on offer are: CHOICE for people with Type 1 diabetes and XPert Health for those with Type 2.

Successful self-management can reduce the risk of the complex and costly complications of diabetes including lower limb amputation, heart attack, stroke, kidney problems and blindness.

Matt Hopkins, Improving Care Manager for Diabetes UK in the South East, welcomed the decision to focus on diabetes education. He said: “Diabetes education courses give people the necessary tools to manage their condition. When you are newly diagnosed, it can feel like there is a lot to learn but it is important to know there is help out there. This is a bold and ambitious pledge. We look forward to working with the Berkshire West CCGs to deliver it over the next five years and encourage others to follow their lead.”

Dr Paul Westcar the Berkshire West CCGs’ GP lead for diabetes said:
“Prevention and treatment of diabetes is one of our key priorities given the major impact of diabetes on the population in Berkshire West. We recognise the importance of structured diabetes education programmes to give people with diabetes the confidence and skills to take control of their condition. We are committed to improving the provision of diabetes education locally and encourage people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes to speak to their healthcare professional about attending a course.”

A local woman, Lindy Clay from Reading recently went on a Berkshire West CCGs XPert Health diabetes education course to accompany her husband who was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Lindy who won a Diabetes UK Inspire Award for Long Term Service last month has been involved with Diabetes UK’s local Reading and District group for nearly 40 years.

Lindy said: “As a person who’s lived with Type 1 diabetes for over four decades, I know how important it is for people to understand their condition and have access to the right information and education. This pledge marks a great step forward in the services and outcomes for those people living with the condition locally. Diabetes education courses are crucial in helping people manage their condition effectively. It certainly helped my husband and I.”

For information about NHS diabetes services in Berkshire West and how to access them, go to Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s website.
For more information on the Diabetes UK campaign please go to: www.diabetes.org.uk/Get_involved/Campaigning/Our-campaigns/Taking-Control/

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For further media information please contact Katherine Porter on or the Diabetes UK Media Relations Team on 020 7424 1165 or email

For urgent out of hours media enquiries only please call 07711 176028.

Notes to editor:

  1. Diabetes UK is the leading UK charity that cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of all people affected by and at risk of diabetes. For more information on all aspects of diabetes and access to Diabetes UK activities and services, visit www.diabetes.org.uk
  2. In the UK, there are 4.5 million people who have diabetes of which 1 million people have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed. 11.9 million people are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
  3. Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.
  4. People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It usually affects children or young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity
  5. People with Type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance). 85 to 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2. They might get Type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required.
  6. For more information on reporting on diabetes, download our journalists’ guide: Diabetes in the News: A Guide for Journalists on Reporting on Diabetes (PDF, 3MB)
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