Diabetes Support Wales is a campaign based in Wales set up with the intention of establishing a network of community-based self-help support groups to promote the management of diabetes through diet discipline and moderate exercise.
Diabetes Support Wales seeks to work with current stakeholders in Wales and further afield to offer an additional dimension to the current provision for diabetes sufferers in Wales to help individuals to mitigate the disease through personal lifestyle changes. It is thought that community-based groups would be best positioned to deliver information and motivation to a large number of patients and that this approach is culturally acceptable within Wales’s community of communities.
Diabetes Support Wales officers have considerable experience with large-scale charitable campaigns in Wales in recent years (Cerddwn Ymlaen and the Lap of Wales Challenge) and have a considerable contact base of volunteers around the country that will form the initial backbone of the new network.
Diabetes in Wales
Right now there are 177,000 people in Wales living with Diabetes. Estimates suggest a further 70,000 people in Wales have Diabetes but are unaware or have no confirmed diagnosis.
Another 54,000 people could be at high risk of developing Diabetes, and the numbers are rising every year. If current trends continue, by 2025, it is estimated that 300,000 people in Wales will have Diabetes.
Diabetes accounts for 10% of the annual NHS Wales budget. This is approximately £500m a year. 80% of this figure is spent on managing complications, most of which could be prevented.
Diabetes has a serious debilitating effect on peoples’ everyday lives and is very detrimental to the sufferers’ quality of life. With a little effort, moderate exercise and a healthy diet, the effects of the disease can be mitigated, improving the quality of life and avoiding the misery of clinical complications.
- 1/ To set up a bi-lingual website which will evolve into a definitive educational resource and form the central organising platform for the new support network.
- 2/ To liaise with the Welsh Government, NHS Wales and other stakeholders to agree on an acceptable operational platform for the new network, incorporating the latest credible thinking on lifestyle-based mitigation for Diabetes.
- 3/ To set up a community-based support group wherever possible throughout Wales. Each group would adopt a standard constitution and be affiliated to Diabetes Support Wales. The central organisation will provide educational resources, expert speakers, regional and national events and a template website for each group.
- 4/ To generate initial publicity and momentum, Diabetes Support Wales will organise an annual national Welsh Conference, a presence at major cultural and sporting events and two national celebrity endurance events, Diabetes 2018 and Diabetes 2019.
Diabetes Support Wales is currently seeking seed funding for the development of this plan and is in initial talks with a number of public and private bodies throughout Wales.
We believe that the implementation of the plan will bring significant improvements to patient outcomes in Wales and will significantly reduce the burden on NHS resources in future. There is a cogent argument that investment in preventative measures now will pay significant dividends for all concerned in future.
To successfully draw down the investment to enable this plan we must be able to establish the credibility of our project, the efficacy of the lifestyle changes proposed and the success of community action in delivering information and motivation for long term individual lifestyle changes. All of this would be positively influenced by relationships with existing credible partners in the UK and further afield. We will be part of a worldwide movement to improve health through a better diet and a more active lifestyle.