Devon based community care and health charity Westbank, leads the way in an innovative national pilot project to prevent diabetes.

Says Alexis Walsh, Diabetes Project Lead for Westbank:

"We have worked collaboratively to design a new programme which aims to support people recently diagnosed or clinically identified as being at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. We are helping individuals to make and maintain lifestyle changes that prevent progression to diabetes, for as long as possible. As part of our Living Well, Taking Control programme, this new diabetes prevention element builds on previous successful well - being management programmes. It uses NICE recommendations on the content for diabetes prevention interventions"

A randomised control trial of the diabetes prevention programme run by Westbank, has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Public Health Research, Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme. The study is led by the University of Exeter Medical School. It aims to provide a definitive and comprehensive evaluation of the clinical and cost effectiveness of the Living Well, Taking Control Programme

John Bunting, Commissioning Lead for Westbank, adds:

"This exciting diabetes prevention programme is being evaluated via a randomised, waiting list control trail across two sites in Devon, and in the West Midlands. It is also being independently evaluated by the University of the West of England, as part of a large, Lottery funded Health and Wellbeing Programme, which Westbank is leading in the South West.

Case Studies

"I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and have attended the Living Well, Taking Control sessions run by Westbank . I thought I knew a little about Diabetes, I have learnt so much from the sessions. I am much more aware of fats and the hidden sugars in foods I had been eating, and the quantities. An extra session on foot care held at the community centre in Tiverton was so informative. It highlighted how important it is to look after your feet and check them daily, and what happens if you ignore symptoms. The sessions are a mixed group of men and women of all ages. We come away much more enlightened about Diabetes and the dangers of ignoring it. If you've been recently diagnosed and wish to know more about it, I could not recommend these sessions more highly.

Linda Kilford

"I am a seventy year old pensioner. My physical activities are a bit restricted because of a history of back injury and arthritis, plus a mini stroke. I do however manage quite a bit of walking. By following all the programme recommendations as far as possible I have lost weight, but best of all have managed over a six month period to go from diabetic to pre - diabetic to non diabetic. By attending the classes you learn a lot about diet and life style. Being tested and measured regularly is a great incentive to meet your personal targets. The staff who conducted the course have been sympathetic, knowledgeable and very encouraging "

Peter Richardson