Medical Matters: Healthy living programme for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes now also online

Joseph Bulmer

Medical Matters - this week, Andy Simpson, deputy service manager from the Healthy Lifestyles Service at Torbay Hospital, talks about the healthy living programme for people recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which is now also available online:

Type 2 diabetes develops when your body can’t produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced doesn’t work properly. If untreated, it can cause very serious health problems.

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes means that looking after your health has become even more important.

The good news is that you can make simple changes to your lifestyle that make a big difference to how your diabetes progresses.

The Torbay Healthy Lifestyles service has been providing support to people with type 2 diabetes for 15 years.

So, if you have been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you should speak to your doctor or practice nurse to get a referral to the healthy living with diabetes programme.

The healthy living programme provides information and advice, all in one place, to help you self-manage your diabetes, which is a key part of your diabetes care.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have had to change the way in which we deliver our healthy living programme and, as a result, it is now available online.

We have worked hard to develop our digital offer and are very pleased to be able to offer people two different ways to access the programme.

The group programme, which is usually delivered over three mornings, is still being presented by the same experienced team but is now also available in friendly, easy-to-access online sessions.

These sessions provide comprehensive resources including videos, workbooks, and the opportunity for question and answer sessions through virtual Microsoft Team meetings.

What can you expect from the course?

  • information on a range of topics including treatment and care for type 2 diabetes, healthy eating and improving activity levels
  • help to understand the potential consequences of living with diabetes
  • an opportunity to gain confidence to make healthy lifestyle changes
  • help to prepare you for any health checks you might need
  • time to discuss questions or concerns with health professionals
  • meeting others who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes.

We have had lots of positive feedback about our digital offer.

Michael Benson, who has recently undertaken the programme, said: “An excellent course that was really well presented by all the staff involved.

"They made information that can be difficult to understand accessible. They don’t talk down to me or belittle me. They help me think for myself and decide what I can do.

!They never used the crushingly disempowering words “you ought” - one “ought” and I’m off.

“Presenters' skills of explanation and exposition and clarification are first rate.

"This meant that I was able to think about the topics in more depth than I have done previously.

"It considerably strengthened my resolve to stick at the changes I need to make and make them normal.

“Sessions involving a bigger amount of facilitation were very well run, allowing enough talk, always respectful, keeping appropriate boundaries, and made discussion feel very safe and worthwhile.

"In terms of the online sessions, it prepared me really well and as a result I got much more from our face-to-face time.

“The values and tone of the underlying script was consistent, engaging, encouraging and safe. I respond well to this. Your use of IT is very accessible and uncomplicated, there was no barriers there. So, it was immensely useful for me. Thanks to all.”

Find out more about the healthy living with diabetes programme at