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Support for type 2 diabetes remission

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In some areas of the UK, there are type 2 diabetes remission programmes available through the NHS and health boards. 

Not every area has a specific type 2 remission programme available, and where there is one, you need to meet certain criteria to be accepted onto the programme. Click on the area of the UK you live in to see what support is available. 

England

Northern Ireland

Scotland

Wales

NHS Remission Service for England

In some areas of England, the NHS offers a low-calorie diet programme specifically designed to help people living with type 2 diabetes and obesity or overweight to try going into type 2 remission. 

The programme is called the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme. You may have heard it called the ‘soups and shakes’ diet.

The programme is based on the DiRECT trial, which offers the strongest evidence we have for putting type 2 diabetes into remission. The aim of the programme is to lose a significant amount of weight quickly and safely, to help put your blood sugar levels below a diabetes range and keep them there long-term.

How the NHS Path to Remission Programme works

The year long programme is free and has three main steps. You’ll get specialist support from a healthcare team every step of the way. This team includes GPs, diabetes specialists, dieticians, health psychologists, and exercise specialists. They’ll give you personalised advice on food, physical activity, and wellbeing. You’ll learn what the best way is for you to eat healthily and move more, to help put your type 2 diabetes into remission. 

Find out more

Is the programme available to everyone in England?

The programme isn’t available in every area of England yet. There are also criteria that you need to meet to be accepted on the programme. These are things like age, weight and when you were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This is because the programme isn’t suitable for everyone.

To find out more visit the NHS website

The first step is to speak to your GP or health care team about type 2 remission. They will need to refer you onto the programme.

Remission Service for Northern Ireland

At the moment, there is only one pilot Diabetes Remission Programme in Northern Ireland. This is within the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust. You need a referral from your GP to be considered for the programme. 

Will there be type 2 remission programmes in Northern Ireland in the future?

There are five Health & Social Care trusts (SEH & SCT) in Northern Ireland. In 2021, the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust introduced a pilot Diabetes Remission Programme. The results of this initial pilot showed similar results for participants as those seen through the DiRECT study. The SEH & SCT have continued to offer this programme on a pilot basis. Access to the pilot programme is through GP referral. 

At this point there are no plans to roll out the programme across Northern Ireland, although this is something we're calling for. 

Type 2 remission service in Scotland

In Scotland, the Healthier Future framework recommends type 2 diabetes programmes specifically designed to help people living with type 2 diabetes and obesity or overweight to try going into remission.  

Most of the 14 health boards in Scotland offer targeted intensive weight management intervention programmes, such as Counterweight Plus®. Some health boards may offer a different specialist weight management service though.

Counterweight Plus® is based on the DiRECT study, which offers the strongest evidence we have for putting type 2 diabetes into remission. The aim of the programme is to lose a significant amount of weight quickly and safely, to help put your blood sugar levels below a diabetes range and keep them there long-term. 

You can be referred through your GP or healthcare team, or, depending on your health board, you can put yourself forward for the programme through a self-referral.   

How the Counterweight Plus® programme works

Counterweight Plus® is a one-year or two-year intensive weight-loss programme which aims to help those living with type 2 diabetes to go into remission long-term.  

The programme has three main steps. You’ll get specialist support from a healthcare team every step of the way. 

Find out more

Is the programme available to everyone in Scotland?

The programme isn’t available in every area of Scotland. There are also criteria that you need to meet to be accepted on the programme, like age, weight and when you were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This is because the programme isn’t suitable for everyone.  

Eligibility criteria for the programme may vary in each health board, but usually people need to meet the following:  

  • Body mass index (BMI) of 27 or above 
  • Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last 6 years 
  • Age 18 and over 
  • Screening assessment to identify any health conditions that mean the programme is unsuitable.

The first step is to speak to your GP or health care team about type 2 remission. They will be able to tell you what support is available for you.    

Type 2 remission service in Wales

At the moment, there is an All Wales Type 2 Diabetes Remission Service being piloted across four University Health Boards (UHB). These four UHBs are Cardiff & Vale UHB, Betsi Cadwaladr UHB, Hywell Dda UHB & Aneurin Bevan.

Will there be type 2 remission programmes in Wales in the future?

Teams within Aneurin Bevan UHB, Cardiff & Vale UHB and Hywell Dda UHB are continuing to support people on the pilot programme. But at this point no decision has been announced on whether the programme will continue, or be rolled out to other areas of Wales after April 2024. This is something we are calling for though.

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