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Taking Control

Most people with diabetes only spend around three hours a year with their doctor, nurse or consultant. For the other 8,757 hours they must manage their diabetes themselves.

Managing diabetes day-to-day can be difficult. This is why it’s important people have the knowledge and skills to manage their diabetes so they can live well and avoid complications.

If you are having problems getting on a course, or want to know more check out our support pack to getting on an education course (PDF, 83KB). 

Have you been on a course? 

If you've been on a diabetes education course such as DAFNE, DESMOND or X-PERT, we want to hear from you. What was the top tip you learnt? How has the course changed your life? We're collecting top tips from people like you to encourage others to attend a course. 

Tell us your top tip 



Meet Joni

I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 20 years ago. Before attending a diabetes education course, there were times when I wasn’t up to doing something and I’d feel a bit low. Going on a DESMOND course has helped my overall well-being. It has given me more confidence, it has helped me lose quite a bit of weight so my diabetes is very well under control and my drugs were reduced slightly. It’s been a godsend.

Joni's story

Meet Andy

I'd had Type 1 diabetes for 10 years when I did the education course. I thought there was very little it would be able to teach me but within the first few hours I realised there was still a lot I had to learn. Since the course my HbA1c has been lower and a lot more stable. It's made me feel more confident about living with diabetes every single day. The tools and techniques I learned meant I could apply them in the real world.

Andy's story

Meet Stewart

I was diagnosed with Type 1 when I was 46. I was fortunate to know for a long time what it was like not having diabetes, I didn’t want my life to change. Going on a DAFNE course gave me the confidence and techniques to carry on with my life. I can go out and get on my bike, I know my hobbies aren’t going to be taken away from me. An education course took the guess work out of diabetes. 

Stewart's story

Meet Malcolm

I’ve had Type 2 diabetes since I was 55. When I was diagnosed I went into a complete panic. I then heard about the DESMOND course and asked my doctor to put me on it. It made a complete difference. I suddenly understood what was happening to me. I felt much more confident that I could manage my condition and that my life was returning to normal. Going on a course took the worry away. 

Malcolm's story

Meet Charlotte

I've had Type 1 diabetes since I was seven. One of the real strong points of going on DAFNE was meeting other people with diabetes who had the same sort of fears as me. The course also gave me the chance to ask all the questions a clinic appointment didn’t have time for. I would encourage everyone to give it a go even if they’re sceptical. It has really changed my life and made me feel a lot more confident about my diabetes.

Charlotte's story


What needs to happen?

As part of Taking Control, people like Charlotte, Malcolm and Stewart are campaigning to make sure that:

  • More people with diabetes are offered and go on diabetes education courses
  • By 2020, every area in the UK is offering people with diabetes a range of ways to learn about their diabetes
  • People with diabetes feel they have the skills and confidence to manage their diabetes well, thereby reducing their risk of developing complications and improving their quality of life.

What you can do

People with diabetes

Join Stewart, Malcolm and Charlotte and support the Taking Control campaign to make diabetes education a reality for everyone with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

  • If you’re interested in going on a course, ask your healthcare professional about what is available in your area.
  • Take action and support our campaign contacting decision makers about diabetes education. 
  • If you’ve been on a course share your story by emailing us at policy@diabetes.org.uk
  • If you can’t get on a course, we can help you with our support pack (PDF, 1,087 KB) or template letter (Word, 22KB).
  • Consider sending our template letter (Word, 38KB) about the value of diabetes education coures a to your local paper.

Healthcare professionals

  • Talk to your patients about the value of diabetes education – you can order our free posters, flyers or healthcare professional resource on the online shop.
  • If you’d like to get involved in the campaign, make the case for diabetes education locally or would like to share your experience, get in touch at policy@diabetes.org.uk.

Local NHS decision makers