This project was funded between February 2017 and April 2018.

  • ‘OK Diabetes’ research led by a team at the University of Leeds. 
  • Developed and trialled a supported self-management intervention for people with mild to moderate learning disability and type 2 diabetes.
  • Resources developed (and hosted on Diabetes UK’s website) for commissioners and practitioners to facilitate reasonable adjustments to diabetes services so that they meet statutory obligations.

The physical health of adults with learning disabilities (LD) is poorer than that of the general population. Obesity and low levels of exercise are a major problem, with the associated risk of type 2 diabetes.

Health services are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments to support access for adults with LD. However, it has been found that many mainstream services are not meeting their needs.

This project involved developing resources to help service providers and commissioners identify people with mild/moderate LD who would benefit from adjusted services for weight management and type 2 diabetes; provide an appropriate service; and facilitate access to and engagement with services.

The resources include a five-step plan for making adjustments, with a checklist for evaluating services; easy read diabetes resources; and factsheets and online resources on the key issues for health professionals. The resources are hosted on the Diabetes UK website and referenced in the NHS RightCare pathway for Diabetes. 

The launch involved a Twitter campaign and distribution of resource packs to 500 local clinical commissioning groups and GP practices. The online resources were downloaded 5,500 times in the three months following the launch.

The team employed communications and evaluation expertise early in the process, which was essential to the project’s success. They also found that although social and online media was the main platform for their outputs, print resources were still valued.

Further work is in progress to evaluate how the resources support practice and what the benefits are to people with LD.

Contact details

Dr Louise Bryant, Associate Professor in Medical Psychology, University of Leeds, l.d.bryant@leeds.ac.uk

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