Diabetes Essentials: Supporting people in West Cheshire

Diabetes. That word again. The one we are hearing almost daily via the news and we hear all too frequently at Beehive. Diabetes is one of those conditions that can affect so many aspects of someone’s health so we’ve spent a bit of time finding out more so we can share this with you.

At Beehive the NHS diabetes team from the Countess of Chester run free sessions called Diabetes Essentials.  They’re for all diabetics and borderline diabetics whether they’ve recently been diagnosed or have lived with the condition for some time.

Often when customers arrive for these sessions and we offer them a hot drink there is a degree of awkwardness relating to whether they have sugar in their drink or not. Sometimes people whisper ‘yes’ or say, ‘I shouldn’t but…’

However we do understand that diabetes management is rarely so straightforward as to whether you still have sugar in your hot drink or not, so we asked the team what the course is all about.

Time for some stats!

No blog would be complete without a few statistics to highlight the number of people affected by this condition.

So, let’s get those out the way in terms of how many people across the Western Cheshire and Chester area have been diagnosed with diabetes.

According to the Western Cheshire CCG Annual Report

  • 13,453 people are registered as having diabetes in our area.

This is 6 out of every 100 people living here! Eek!

In addition, the number of people with diabetes in our area has been increasing by around 750 per year since 2004/05.

How common is diabetes in England?

  • 2 million people are diagnosed diabetics.
  • A further 500,000 people are likely to have diabetes but do not know it yet.
  • One person every 3 minutes is diagnosed with diabetes.

This is 700 people every day. An estimated 90% of those will be Type 2 Diabetics.

Who are the Diabetes Essentials sessions for?

Statistics aside the main concern people have when they arrive here or are told they are at risk from or have diabetes is the impact on their own health or the health of their loved ones. Sometimes they are worried or confused by what help is available or what they need to do. This is exactly what the Diabetes Essentials sessions are for.

What many people don’t realise is just how much can be done and the support available. It is just a case of taking those steps forward, however small or big.

For example, Diabetes UK, the charity who supports people living with diabetes, advise that although millions of people are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes, 80 per cent of these cases can be prevented.

For those who have been diagnosed already the Diabetes Essentials Team told us:

“Everyone with diabetes – no matter their age, where there live, or the type of diabetes they have – needs to receive the best care possible. They also need to be supported to self-manage their condition effectively.

Diabetes UK advises that Diabetes is a serious condition but, if managed well, people can live long and full lives. Supported self-management is the key to successful day-to-day diabetes management. Access to diabetes education and information is an essential part of effective self-management.

In Western Cheshire, “Diabetes Essentials” is a free NHS Service to support people with diabetes to manage their condition.”

What are Diabetes Essentials sessions?

So, let’s get right to it. These sessions give people the chance to learn more about diabetes management from a specialist health professional who will present information in a simple and easy to understand way (no medical jargon!) and answer any queries and concerns you have.  It’s also an opportunity to meet other people with diabetes or borderline diabetes and learn from their experiences.

Topics covered include:

  • general information included to explain what diabetes actually is
  • the different types of diabetes
  • monitoring and managing diabetes
  • the prevention of long-term health problems
  • healthy eating
  • physical activity
  • foot care
  • coping skills for dealing with diabetes in everyday life

Leaflets on all subjects covered will be provided during the sessions.

The key to successful management is to act now. It is always the right time to get help and small steps soon add up to life changing differences!

If I attend, what is involved?

There are seperate sessions for:

  • Type 1 diabetes – which is where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, so insulin is needed.
  • Type 2 diabetes – whivh is where the body does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.
  • Borderline diabetes (or pre-diabetes). As 80% of cases of type 2 can be prevented or delayed it’s important to come along and find out what you can do now.


  • Sessions are approximately 2½ hours in duration
  • Are delivered by a qualified health professional, currently a registered dietitian
  • Are open to people from the Western Cheshire area
  • Run on a choice of days and times at various venues throughout Western Cheshire, including the Beehive in Chester, Ellesmere Port Hospital, and health centres in Bunbury and Frodsham.
How can I attend Diabetes Essentials?

This is a self-referral service, if you would like to attend one of the sessions please call Therapy Services on 01244 365 234 or email Diabetes.essentials@nhs.net

However speak to your healthcare professional if you want more information or they can refer you if you would prefer this.

If you are concerned about your risk of diabetes
  • Speak to your GP or Practice Nurse about the NHS Health Check programme – to identify if you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes (follow this link http://www.healthcheck.nhs.uk/ for more information)
  • If you are diagnosed with Borderline Diabetes – Contact the Diabetes Essentials team to reserve a place on a “Borderline Diabetes Essentials” session
  • Maintain a healthy weight, eat well & be active – it makes a big difference!

Whether you have diabetes or at risk of diabetes, Diabetes Essentials is here to support you to manage your condition.

Help is at hand!