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New support for adults with Type 2 diabetes in Wales

Written by on 13th August 2021

People in Wales with Type 2 diabetes will have an extra source of support from this week with the launch of a new national online programme.

MyDESMOND is an interactive digital education resource that provides easy access to evidence-based information and support, enabling users to track their nutrition and activity levels, set goals, connect with other users and seek advice from a dedicated team of experts.

Catherine Washbrook-Davies, All Wales Dietetic Lead for Diabetes, All Wales Diabetes Implementation Group, said: “Traditionally in Wales diabetes education has taken the form of face-to-face groups via a GP referral.

“This is the first time that a digital Type 2 diabetes education programme has been made available for everyone across Wales and we’re really excited about the possibilities it offers to help our patients manage their condition. 

“MyDESMOND will not replace group support, but the enormous disruption that Covid-19 caused to face-to-face services made it acutely clear how valuable this kind of resource is for people to have in their daily lives.

“Access to MyDESMOND will provide an additional option to support people before, during or after accessing any of the existing services across Wales such as virtual X-PERT and other face to face services as they resume.

“It is easily accessible through PCs, tablets or smartphones so people living with diabetes are never more than a few clicks from the information they need.”

Developed by the Leicester Diabetes Centre, MyDESMOND – which stands for My Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed – includes the following features:

  • Interactive learning and booster sessions to increase knowledge and confidence about Type 2 diabetes through a range of videos, quizzes and educational materials
  • The ability to track activity levels and link up to Fitbit, Garmin or Google Fit devices
  • Add weight, blood pressure, HbA1c, diet and cholesterol info to track progress and changes
  • Set daily and long-term goals
  • Track progress against others in the MyDESMOND community on the global leader boards
  • Chat with members of the MyDESMOND community
  • Invite friends and family to join in through the ‘Buddies’ feature
  • An ‘Ask the Expert’ option connected to the multi-disciplinary team of the Leicester Diabetes Centre

According to the latest figures from 2020, there are nearly 210,000 people in Wales living with diabetes which is around eight per cent of the population. Of these, approximately 90 per cent are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes1. This is the first time that Wales has recorded more than 200,000 people diagnosed with diabetes1.

Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, said: “Giving people the knowledge and support to help them stay healthy is vitally important, especially as our NHS continues to deal with the long-term impact of the pandemic.

“We want people with long-term and chronic conditions to enjoy the best possible quality of life, as well as ensuring that the NHS can make the best use of its resources.

“Programmes such as MyDESMOND have a really important part to play, helping to bridge the gap between formal clinical support and the day-to-day encouragement people need to manage a long-term condition effectively.”

Alison Northern, Implementation Manager from the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said: “We are extremely proud to be able to offer our MyDESMOND programme to people with Type 2 diabetes in Wales.

“Evidence shows that people with diabetes who take part in structured diabetes education programmes have better health outcomes overall, and the feedback we’ve had from people currently using the programme has been really positive.

“We’re looking forward to working with the Diabetes Implementation Group to roll out MyDESMOND across Wales.”

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition which develops when the body still makes some insulin but it doesn’t work properly or production is reduced. Management of Type 2 diabetes varies from person to person; some through diet and lifestyle, and others through medication including insulin.

Evidence shows that those with Type 2 diabetes who take part in diabetes education have improved biomedical outcomes (such as HbA1c, weight, cholesterol and blood pressure) 2-4, improvements in psychosocial outcomes (for example diabetes-related distress, self-efficacy rates) 2-6 and better behavioural outcomes suggesting that those that attend understand more about their diagnosis and therefore do more to improve their health and well-being.

Feedback from the 18,000 people already using MyDESMOND has been extremely positive:

  • 90 per cent said the information in the site was ‘sufficiently detailed’
  • 83 per cent agreed the ‘programme was easy to use’.
  • 84 per cent agreed that they ‘enjoyed using this programme’.
  • 89 per cent said that the information within the programme was valuable/extremely valuable.
  • 83 per cent found the programme engaging
  • 86 per cent said that they had a ‘better understanding of my condition’ as a result of using MyDESMOND
  • 62 per cent reported they were more active and 77 per cent changed their diet as a result of using MyDESMOND7

If you live in Wales and have a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, you can request access via www.mydesmond.wales