Diabetes is back in the news, so seems a good time to finally write that piece about my own experiences with pre-diabetes.
Early summer 2016 my GP warned me a HbA1c test result indicated I was (just) in the prediabetic range. Then in late 2017 he put me forward for a new early intervention programme called 'Healthier You'. A perfectly sensible referral given my medical history, my weight issues, my CKD etc... Unfortunately in mid 2017 another HbA1c test (just) dropped me out of the prediabetes range, the weight issues and the CKD were obviously still there. However, whoever assessed the referral saw the new result and rejected me on an arbitrary line in the sand, more unfortunately they didn't bother to tell me.
In Spring 2018 another HbA1c test result put me back in prediabetic range, everthing else staying the same. I tell the practice nurse 'I'm waiting to be contacted by an early intervention programme', she checks the computer and finds the rejection letter I never got and flags itback to the GP who raises the referal again.
A month or so goes by, making it about six months from the original referral and I'm finally contacted. The advisor offers me a place on a series of clinics running in nearby Caterham, unfortunately these are in the middle of the afternoon, when I'm at work in London. It's an hour and fifteen minutes travel in each direction between the office and the venue, so if I want to attend I need to book an afternoon off work for each appointment. I told the advisor this was no good as I don't work locally, she told me I could go on the waiting list for an evening clinic, that was four or five months ago and I've still to hear anything back.
My own researches suggest that 'Healthier You' is actually the name of two NHS backed diabetes prevention programmes. The programme offered by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust is delivered by a service provider called Igneus, but the version of the programme offered in the location where I work is delivered by ICS Health & Wellbeing, so it's not a case of swapping to a more convenient location.
It's been almost a year since the initial referral, so I am starting to wonder if I will ever get a place, my suspicion is the programme is essentially designed for people who don't work, or who only work part-time, taking multiple afternoons off work isn't really a helpful strategy for people like myself. Commercial 'Fat Fighters' style weight loss clubs tend to offer a variety of convenient time slots and locations to maximise effectiveness, it would be nice to think an NHS diabetes prevention programme would take a lesson from this, but public 'services' are not always known for their focus on the end user.