(L - R): Dr Paul Baker and Dr Amanda Porch, creators of the Diabetes Lifestyle Doctors initiative.
Matthew Neville

County Durham medical duo to alleviate NHS pressure with diabetes behaviour change programme

A County Durham based medical duo is hoping to provide more support for type two diabetes sufferers and alleviate pressure on the NHS by introducing a set of online 12-week diabetes lifestyle-based behaviour change programmes.

The scale of the problem of diabetes in the UK remains unprecedented. According to Diabetes UK, 4.9m people are currently living with a diagnosis of diabetes, 90 per cent of those with type two, while a further 850,000 people are currently living with type two diabetes but are yet to be diagnosed.

Husband and wife team Dr Amanda Porch and Dr Paul Baker, who continue to practice as NHS GPs, have seen first-hand the strain that the NHS is currently under when treating type two diabetes.

The couple’s new initiative, Diabetes Lifestyle Doctors, aims to become a “one-stop-shop” for sufferers of type two diabetes providing additional and more accessible support that the NHS is too overstretched to currently offer everyone.

People can participate in a 12-week lifestyle plan supported by trained professionals such as doctors, health and wellness coaches and dietitians, as well as access to recipes, video content and a community support network hosted on social media.

Dr Paul said: “I truly think the NHS does an exceptional job for the scale of the problem we’re facing in this country. But, unfortunately, nearly all the resources have to be directed towards managing diabetes complications, of which there are many.”

“We know from research that intensive lifestyle intervention, particularly earlier on, around the time of diagnosis is a powerful tool for improving blood glucose levels, decreasing insulin resistance and weight, and reversing the root causes of type two diabetes.”

“I believe if everyone diagnosed had easy access to a diabetes focused lifestyle programme, that we could change the trajectory of managing this condition for the benefit of our society.”

Dr Amanda added: “The limitation is lack of time and demand on the system often meaning less frequent appointments than we would all like.”

“It’s a big diagnosis to give and a big turning point in someone’s life. You want it to be done right and to give the right support to patients, but unfortunately there isn’t the time resource to do that. That’s where the idea for our programme was born.

“Our programme embodies the support and all the tools we wish we could give to our patients with prediabetes and type two diabetes.”

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