This follows warnings that those with diabetes, 172,000 of whom live in Greater Manchester, are at higher risk during the coronavirus pandemic.
Three new services will allow people to manage their condition online, with a range of online videos and training available on each app for children and adults. In Greater Manchester this builds on existing online provision, in the form of the innovative Diabetes My Way platform.
People living with Type 1 diabetes can now access the following technology:
- Digibete: a wide range of awareness, education, training and support resources for children and young people with diabetes and their families
- MyType1Diabetes: for adults with Type 1 diabetes. It includes videos and eLearning courses, to help people understand more about their condition and increase their confidence in how to manage it.
People with Type 2 diabetes will be able to access the following from later this year:
- Healthy Living for people with Type 2 diabetes: Provides users with the skills and knowledge to manage their condition effectively, including advice on emotional and mental wellbeing, and helps users adopt and maintain healthy behaviours around diet and exercise.
Diabetes My Way has been fully live and operational in Greater Manchester since February 2020 and provides information, advice, and e-learning. Many of the resources have been updated during the pandemic with specific advice, guidance and information relating to coronavirus. People with Type 2 diabetes can also register to use the platform for personalised self-management of their condition, allowing them to view the clinical data held by their GP practice. It provides access to a range of apps that support behaviour change and mental health. Diabetes My Way was set up as part of a national NHS England test bed and as such has benefited from an investment of £1 million.
Recent findings show that people with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of complications and even death if they become infected with COVID-19. Nationally, people living with type 1 diabetes are at three and a half times the risk, and people living with type 2 are at double the risk of dying in hospital with the virus, compared to those without this condition. However, this risk can be reduced by managing the condition effectively and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Nicki Milne, Greater Manchester Community Diabetes Specialist Nurse, said:
“It can sound scary knowing you are at increased risk if you get coronavirus but there are things you can do about it. I encourage everyone with diabetes to take advantage of the wealth of online resources now available to find out more about your condition and become more skilled in understanding and managing it effectively. We’ve had really positive feedback from people with diabetes who are benefiting from being able to complete online learning and get support at a time and place that works well for them.”
“Taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle can play a big part in managing type 2 diabetes. It may be tough during lockdown, especially for those who are shielding, but eating healthily, moving more and taking care of your mental and emotional health really can make a big difference.”
Ahmed, 54, from South Manchester has had Type 2 diabetes for seven years. He said:
“I can understand why people are feeling anxious but there is loads of information online and even apps that can help people feel more confident about living with and managing their diabetes. I use Diabetes My Way to find out about resources in my area. It’s easy to use and I’ve found out so much more about type 2 diabetes and how to become more active and eat more healthily.”
Dr Naresh Kanumilli, Greater Manchester Clinical Network Lead for Diabetes and a Manchester GP, said:
“If you’re feeling unwell, or your diabetes is not well managed at the moment, please contact your GP practice or diabetic team for help. We’re still here for you, providing the same safe care we always have. We’re just doing things a bit differently so we may discuss your symptoms over the phone or in a video consultation. Patients are only seen face to face where this is absolutely necessary, but I want to reassure people that steps are being taken to prevent any possible infection from coronavirus.”