NHS offers online advice to Type 2 diabetes sufferers in North East in new pilot
People with Type 2 diabetes will now be offered NHS advice digitally to help manage their condition in a first of its kind service.
The new tool will give the advice for people at home, work or on the move to deal with the mental and physical challenges of diabetes at the touch of a button via an online portal.
Trials of the service, carried out by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), demonstrated significant improvements in people's average blood sugar and an improvement in the mental health of people newly diagnosed with the condition.
Pilots to help inform how it would be used nationwide will be carried out in 11 areas in England, including the North East, where people will be invited to trial the new programme.
There are currently more than 2.8 million people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and a further 750,000 people are believed to be living with the condition undiagnosed.
A national roll out is expected for the service from 2020.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for diabetes and obesity for NHS England said: "Living with Type 2 diabetes is a daily challenge for millions, as well as a growing issue for our NHS, which is why the long-term plan for the health service sets out ambitious, innovative and evidence-backed measures to prevent and manage the condition.
"Access to trusted information and support is key to helping people manage their diabetes, and this online tool helps deliver this as part of our long-term plan to tackle major conditions and diseases.
"We are living in an increasingly digital age with people managing most aspects of their life online, the rollout of this programme will give people the opportunity to get support for their Type 2 diabetes online too."
Alan, 71, from Sunderland, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2002, claimed to have already benefited from the resource.
He said: "When I was diagnosed it was a shock to the system and I didn't know anything about Type 2 diabetes.
"My first piece of advice to anyone diagnosed with any form of diabetes is to learn as much as possible about it.
"This tool is a great way to do that - the more you know, the better you can manage your condition."
Approximately 10% of health expenditure in England is associated with diabetes, costing around £10billion per year in costs to the NHS, largely due to preventable complications.