Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


HeLP Diabetes - Diabetes Self Management Programme

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Diabetes is one of the commonest long term conditions affecting about 2 million adults in the UK. People with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease, kidney failure and blindness and to die prematurely than people without diabetes. Many of these problems can be prevented if people with diabetes are given the knowledge and skills to self-manage their condition. Unfortunately, although it is NHS policy to provide structured education for people with diabetes, only a minority of patients report receiving such education.

We have developed an online self-management programme called 'HeLP-Diabetes' (Healthy Living for People with Diabetes), and an additional Structured Education Programme called 'HeLP-Diabetes: Starting Out' to help people with diabetes learn about diabetes and take better care of their health.

The HeLP-Diabetes programme provides information about diabetes and its treatments as well as emotional support and help with adopting and maintaining healthy behaviours (e.g. diet, exercise). The design of the programme is informed both by scientific theory and the needs and preferences of patients, their families and health professionals. It has been developed through a process of participatory design where users (both patients and Health Professionals) were heavily involved in its' creation.

HeLP-Diabetes Randomised Controlled Trial

The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of HeLP-Diabetes is currently being evaluated as part of a randomised controlled trial in the Primary Care setting. To visit the trial website, click here.

HeLP-Diabetes Implementation study

In parallel to this, we are running an implementation study in two CCG's in North London to determine the impact it has on health and health outcomes in routine practice, and the resources needed for successful implementation. Both the trial and implementation studies will report in early 2016.

This work will have a considerable benefit to both the NHS and patients. We know what patients and health professionals want from an online programme (immediately useful to NHS Choices and other NHS organisations commissioning the programme) and we have used this knowledge to develop the theoretically-informed, evidence-based intervention with demonstrated acceptability to patients and health professionals. In early 2016 we will have data on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, and resources needed for implementation; and the impact on health of the intervention when used in routine clinical practice. This will enable widespread implementation of the programme and we will commission HeLP-Diabetes to CCG's and the NHS thereafter.

For more information about the HeLP-Diabetes programme, or if you are interested in commissioning the programme in your area, please contact Orla O'Donnell o.odonnell@ucl.ac.uk