New figures reveal there are 3.6 million adults diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, an increase of almost 137,000 than last year. This is why the take-up of diabetes education courses is so important.

What are diabetes education courses?
Most courses follow a set format for Type 1 or 2 diabetes decided by your local health body. Usually you’ll be learning with up to ten people and often you can bring a partner or friend along too. You can talk to your health team if you’re not comfortable learning in a group. To find out more, or to watch videos about Type 1 or Type 2 courses and what you can expect from attending, please visit www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-education

What makes the course unique, and can't the individual get this information from their GP or Health Care Team? 
If you’re living with diabetes you’ll spend only three or so hours a year with a healthcare professional. For the other 8,757 hours of the year you are responsible for managing the complex condition yourself. Managing your diabetes well is critical to avoid the onset of life-threatening complications, many of which could be avoided, such as blindness, amputations, stroke or heart disease.

Going on an education course gives you time to get lots of detailed information, as well as valuable support from others going through the same thing. It equips you with the skills to get that essential day-to-day management right.

What difference will it make to people who already live with the condition?
Living with diabetes doesn't automatically mean you are always aware of the seriousness of the condition, or have answers to the many questions that arise when managing a life-long condition. In a Diabetes UK survey, almost 9 in 10 people who attended a course said they felt more confident about managing their diabetes afterwards, whether they were newly diagnosed or had had the condition for a long time. Improving how you manage diabetes day-to-day, improves your quality of life and reduces the common complications that can develop from diabetes.

Who runs diabetes education courses? 
Diabetes education courses are run by the NHS and are free to attend.  The course will be led by either healthcare professionals, such as dieticians and diabetes specialist nurses, or by trainers with knowledge of diabetes.

Who is eligible to attend?
There are specific courses available if you are living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. If you have another form of diabetes, please talk to your healthcare team about reliable sources of information.

How can people join a diabetes education course?
To join a diabetes education course, you should speak to a healthcare professional, such as your GP, consultant or nurse. They should be able to tell you what is available locally for people with diabetes and refer you to one of the options on offer. In some areas you can also self-refer onto courses.

What provisions are in place if the programme is oversubscribed?
If you cannot get onto a course, Diabetes UK has produced a pack explaining what to do next. We can also provide you with support to ask for a course. www.diabetes.org.uk/Advocacy/. National guidelines for diabetes care say everyone with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes should have the opportunity to attend one.

What if I’m not ready for a course or want more information?
There are other ways to learn, such as Diabetes UK’s free online course “Type 2 and Me”. You can also ask if there is a local website or if there is a way for you to meet other people living with the condition, such as Diabetes UK’s local groups.

Are education courses available for children?
If you are under 18 years of age, you and your family members or carers should be offered a continuing programme of education. This should start as soon as you’re diagnosed and be tailored specifically to your needs. Usually this support will be provided by your paediatric diabetes clinic.