Diabetes is a dreadful illness. It is a hormonal disease with a strong genetic predisposition and a high incidence rate in the obese population. In order to promote healthy habits, NHS England has launched a drive to prevent diabetes by giving a Fitbit style device to the obese patients. Others will be offered weighing scales and virtual personal trainers who will carry out fitness sessions via their smartphones.
The initial phase involves 5000 obese patients who are at a higher risk for developing type II diabetes. NHS believes that the technology and guidance will provide proper motivation to exercise, making diabetes a less likely possibility. The pilot schemes costs around £ 1.2 million and it will run for 12 months in different areas. NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK will launch the project in eight areas this month.
The gadgets will work along with stress counselling, health advice and personal coaching sessions. The exact combination of support that an individual will receive depends on which one of the 5 schemes they are enrolled in.
Critics has deemed this entire project as “wholly unnecessary” and unworthy of the money that NHS is spending on these gadgets.
Up to 4 million people in England suffer from diabetes and another 5 million are at risk. Diabetes costs the NHS an estimated £14billion a year and one in seven hospital beds are occupied by someone with the condition.
NHS officials behind this project firmly believe that this scheme will ultimately save money by preventing thousands of obese patients from developing diabetes and other obesity related diseases.
According to Simon Stevens, “This is the latest example of the NHS getting practical and serious about new ways to support people staying healthy.”
Diabetes can lead to amputations and early deaths. It costs NHS 10% of their total spending. If this project succeeds it will be a small price to pay in exchange of the relief it would bring.