Helping people in Leicestershire with Diabetes

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15 Aug 2016

EMPOWER-ing people through education

A new diabetes education course to help people with type 2 diabetes is being rolled out across Leicester City, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Delivered by Leicestershire-based Spirit Healthcare, the EMPOWER course uses group exercises in a relaxed setting. It has been successful in inspiring initial cohorts to try reducing their portion sizes and make healthier choices in order to manage their diabetes more easily and effectively.

Gill Peck, a nurse clinical educator that runs the EMPOWER courses said: “Courses are delivered in local settings with a focus on nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes in an friendly, interactive, group environment. These courses help those taking part to set and achieve personal goals and take full control of their diabetes.”

The refreshing approach was welcomed by attendees at recent sessions at the Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre and at A Place to Grow, the community garden project in Enderby. Newly diagnosed with diabetes, Emma Richards commented: “I’ve come away with a good sense of what I need to focus on in regards to my diabetes. I feel much more relaxed and educated in a fun and friendly atmosphere.”

Participant Ashit Shah said: “This course has been a real plus to my diabetes. After five years of living with diabetes this is the first time I have found good knowledge on how to live appropriately with my diabetes and not let diabetes control me”.

Spirit Healthcare has been commissioned by Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to deliver the EMPOWER courses to patients who are newly-diagnosed with diabetes. The course will be offered to eligible patients via their GP practice, see below for criteria.

Professor Azhar Farooqi, GP and Chair of Leicester City CCG, speaking on behalf of the three local CCGs, said: “A new diagnosis of diabetes can be a worrying time for patients and it is important that they feel well informed about the condition and what they can do to help themselves. We also recognise that a new diagnosis is also a very good time to motivate and encourage patients to look after their own health and this is why the CCGs have commissioned a diabetes patient education programme.

“The open tender process resulted in the EMPOWER programme being selected and we have every confidence we will offer an excellent and accessible service to our patients. EMPOWER also offer specific courses for Black Minority and Ethnic (BME) groups where the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is much higher, due to culture and diet. The CCGs will work with the provider, referring practices and with patients to ensure that our expectations of a high quality service are met.”

EMPOWER courses are planned to take place in August and September across the City and County. Anyone who would like to access the course must be referred by their GP or Practice Nurse, be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and not have received this type of education before. For further information please call our dedicated EMPOWER support line on 0800 852 7460.

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