New local diabetes programme launched

Wednesday 12 June 2024

WellSouth Primary Health Network is piloting a new programme to help more people across Otago and Southland self-manage their type 2 diabetes.

Take control of your diabetes is an evidence-based programme developed by WellSouth long-term conditions (LTC) nurses to empower patients in Otago and Southland to self-manage their diabetes diagnosis, with in-person classes delivered where there is the most need.

WellSouth Long-term Conditions Nurse Dave Cox, who runs the programme explains that WellSouth previously delivered a diabetes workshop from a UK-based programme.

“Feedback was that these were too long, held during the workday, and were too far away for people to attend,” he says.

“We wanted to respond to that feedback and provide programme classes that were more local and more flexible.”

The programme material and structure was designed by WellSouth’s LTC team, which includes LTC nurses such as Mr Cox, dietitians and pharmacists.

Mr Cox says the introductory class is shorter, and can be delivered according to need, to fit in with busy schedules, almost anywhere.

“By making it free-of charge, local and accessible, we believe more people will attend, and be able to connect with others locally who are having a similar experience.”

“Many attendees will have just been diagnosed with their GP or nurse practitioner, who would recommend the course.”

Mr Cox explains that a diabetes diagnosis is a starting point, not an end.

“There is a lot a person and their whānau can do to manage conditions and lessen the impact,” he says.

There are around 12,400 people in Otago and Southland who have type 2 diabetes, according to data from the primary care patient management system (PMS). Of these, 4,405 are rural, 1128 are Maori (or 9%) and 559 are Pacific (4%). Of the rural breakdown, 324 are Maori (7%) and 125 are Pacific (3%). 

“With so many of our population rural, having programmes in towns rather in major centres will make a huge difference to empowering more of our community,” says Mr Cox.  

Participants will better understand how diabetes may affect day-to-day life, how to recognise and manage symptoms and get tips and advice to keep living well with diabetes. They will get advice on glycaemic control, nutrition, physical activity, smoking cessation, medication use, stress management, sleep hygiene, goal setting and action planning.

As the pilot is rolled out, the LTC team are also monitoring need for a follow up class as part of the programme.  The course material is also designed so that in the future WellSouth will be able to train local trainers to help support demand for more sessions in more locations.



WellSouth Long-term Conditions nurses from left to right: Marryllyn Donaldson, Rachel Hall, Monica Cooney and Dave Cox.


Go to Take Control of Your Diabetes » WellSouth to find out how to book. 

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