1000th patient completes diabetes education as patients are given the option to refer themselves into the popular programme

From 1 October 2017, patients in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland with diabetes can book themselves onto the popular EMPOWER education programme online to help them keep their condition under control. This comes as the 1000th patient successfully completes the programme.

Patients will be able to use the online booking service via the website empowerllr.co.uk where they can select the most appropriate location, venue and timing and book their place.

The online booking system provides a quick and convenient way for patients to book onto the programme as well as giving them more choice than ever before when it comes to the date, time and location of the programme.

The programme involves a four hour structured diabetes education course designed to help people understand what diabetes is, the effect it has on their body as well as giving them the right information to make small, achievable changes to their diet and everyday life, which can help people better manage their diabetes.

The EMPOWER diabetes education programme is funded by NHS Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG, and NHS West Leicestershire CCG and delivered by Spirit Healthcare.

Mr Barry Suggett aged 65 from Oakham is the 1000th patient to use the service, he said: “When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, you attend an appointment with your diabetic nurse and you think ‘Oh well that’s not so bad, I’ll take a tablet and I’ll be in control,’ but it doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to take responsibility as well. Personally, the main challenge for me was around diet and I know now that it’s not just about medication, it’s about embracing a lifestyle that includes taking part in exercise, which can be as simple as taking the dog for a walk, and maintaining a healthy diet that allows you to take control of your sugar intake.

“I’ve been a diabetic for a while now and the four hours at EMPOWER were four hours well spent. I would recommend EMPOWER to anyone who has diabetes, it has helped me understand that I didn’t need to make huge changes to my lifestyle and it’s given me the motivation to make those small changes to both my diet and exercise.”

There are approximately 54,000 people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland diagnosed with diabetes and the numbers are growing at five per cent each year. Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 95% of diagnosed diabetes. It develops when the body cannot produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly. If untreated, it can cause serious health problems.

Professor Azhar Farooqi, chair of Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Patients with diabetes can develop serious health complications such as high blood pressure, foot problems which could lead to amputation and stroke, if they don’t have control of their diabetes. Patients who attend the course will receive information and advice on how to make small, gradual changes to their diet and lifestyle so they can live a longer, healthier life.

“We want all patients to have access to diabetes support. EMPOWER has proven to be very successful in helping our patients with type 2 diabetes better understand their condition and take steps to better manage and control it. We urge anyone across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who has diabetes to sign up for the course, either through your GP Practice or online.”

Since the launch of EMPOWER in 2016, Spirit Healthcare has delivered a variety of courses across the region in languages including English, Guajarati, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi to meet the needs of the local community. Each four hour course is offered at different times throughout the day, with evening and weekend programmes also available to make education more accessible.

Spirit Healthcare are required to take part in an annual review of local patient satisfaction because they provide the EMPOWER structured diabetes education programme to local NHS patients.

The Friends and Family Test (FFT) is an important feedback tool that enables people who use NHS services to have the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience. It asks people if they would recommend the services they have used. In total 99% of patients who have completed the EMPOWER Type 2 diabetes education programme said they would be likely or extremely likely to recommend it to friends and family members.

Tim Loveridge, Managing Director of Clinical Services, Spirit Healthcare, said: “As a Leicester-based healthcare company, we work in partnership with the CCGs and other healthcare organisations locally to fulfil the needs of people diagnosed with diabetes.”

Patients looking to use the online self-referral service and finding out more information on course dates and the service can visit empowerllr.co.uk.