Health Exchange helps combat diabetes prevalence in Birmingham

A new health programme launched recently by Health Exchange aims to reduce the incidence of diabetes in Birmingham by as much as 50%.

This new 'Patient Education Programme’ is projected to save the local NHS £11 million over 3 years through reducing the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.

Health Exchange is aiming to work closely with new Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the city: NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG, NHS Birmingham South Central CCG and NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG. 4.1% of the population in this area has been identified as having the potential of developing Type 2 diabetes, amounting to approximately 40,000 people at high risk.

Measuring BMI (Body Mass Index), blood pressure, waist circumference and HbA1c results from GPs, enables a clear assessment of patients’ health profile to be completed. Those shown to be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes will be introduced to healthy eating and cooking, addressing portion sizes, increasing physical activity and balancing their diet. Signposting to other services and providing support with mental health concerns are also included.

The programme will offer a lifestyle intervention for the first four weeks and ongoing reviews with interactive services as part of the follow up programme.

The programme has also been designed to help support the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guidelines Strategy to reduce high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is the latest thinking in this area.

Health Exchange Chief Executive Graham Beaumont explains, “Through close working with GP surgeries and their NHS Health checks programme we have been able to identify patients at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and intervene prior to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. This course not only meets NICE guidance on preventing type 2 diabetes but also supports clinical best practice and improving patients’ quality of life. By seeing patients in a group based setting a higher volume of patients can be seen and they can obtain support from others in a similar position to themselves.”

A current client endorsed the programme: “This course succeeds in directly tackling the issues surrounding chronic disease and obesity within the South Asian community.”

He added “The blood pressure reading demonstration with detailed information was very helpful. I especially found the props used like the rubber weight blocks and the test tubes with the fat contents really brought home the message.”

Health Exchange has been supporting individuals in Birmingham over the last 6 years to make positive lifestyle changes.

For more information about the programme, please contact Rachel Georgiou on 0121 663 0007 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Notes to Editors
There is a growing need to support individuals prior to diagnosis for Type 2 diabetes. NHS Health Checks have identified large cohorts of patients as having raised HbA1c (Glycated Haemoglobin).The likelihood of these patients progressing onto developing Type 2 diabetes can be decreased through patient education. The aim of the pre-diabetes programme is to support the process by utilising our evidence based course and following NICE guidelines – Preventing Type 2 Diabetes.

The UK has the highest level of obesity in Europe and the West Midlands have the highest rate of adult obesity in the UK, particularly in the BME communities. In 2010 the West Midlands had doubled EU the rate of obesity and that of Greater London. Health Exchange work closely with all community groups within the West Midlands including the BME community.

The service gap for pre-diabetes is growing. As more people are diagnosed as high risk, and as obesity rises, new approaches that provide clinical outcomes need to be provided. The key gaps are:

  • Lack of awareness of the benefits of screening individuals for pre-diabetes
  • Lack of education to professionals of the benefits (Financial/Time) of structured programmes
  • Insufficient education programmes to accommodate the increasing number of patients
  • Lack of programmes that provide long term support
  • Lack of programmes that have clinical outcomes that can be repeated
  • Insufficient programmes that address the uniqueness of individuals

With this large gap in the services it is evident there is a need for further structured patient education programmes to be commissioned and delivered to allow patients to self manage their condition.

This will be achieved by individuals receiving 18 months of support through educator led sessions for the first four weeks and then ongoing support via phone, text, e-mail or face to face contact to support positive behaviour changes.

For further information on NICE guidance on preventing type 2 diabetes, please visit

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