Thousands more people with type 2 diabetes across England will benefit from NHS soup and shake diets, as new data shows its effectiveness at helping people lose weight.

The radical programme, first piloted by the NHS in 2020 as part of its Long Term Plan, will expand so that it can provide access to patients in every part of the country by March 2024 – it is currently available in 21 areas of England.

Patients can benefit if they have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last six years with referrals made by local GPs.

Speaking at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference today, NHS England’s national clinical director for diabetes and obesity will set out the latest findings from the pilot, which show participants lost an average of over 13kg (two stone) in three months which was maintained at six months.

The data also shows, that by the end of the year long programme, people had lost 11kg on average (over 1.5 stone). Weight loss was similar to that seen in clinical trials, showing early promise that the programme might lead to remission in up to half of people with type 2 diabetes.

The programme kickstarts weight loss through low calorie, total diet replacement products such as shakes and soups for the first three months, supported and monitored by expert clinicians and coaches.

After this, a carefully managed plan reintroduces healthy, nutritious food and participants can track their progress through one-to-ones, group sessions and digital support – to help them maintain a healthier weight.

The expansion also follows the latest research from the Diabetes UK-funded Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) which showed that losing weight can put type 2 diabetes in remission for at least five years in some people.

Since the peak of the pandemic, local NHS areas have been given £36 million to help restore diabetes services to pre-pandemic levels.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity said: “Research is clear that weight loss where indicated goes a long way to helping people stay well and avoiding preventable illness, and in many cases it can be the trigger for putting type 2 diabetes into remission.

“So I am delighted that thousands more people are making use of this programme with thousands more set to benefit across England in the coming year.

“This programme is also the latest example of the NHS effectively deploying evidence-based treatments to help people with type 2 diabetes live well. Obesity is a significant factor and cause of several serious diseases, so the NHS is always here to help people to lose weight when necessary, and live healthier lives.”


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