The Public Health Collaboration is a UK registered charity (Charity no. 1171887) that is dedicated to informing and implementing healthy decisions for better public health. In September 2017, we set up the Ambassadors Programme with the goal of having a volunteer in every village, town and city in the country to represent the PHC at a local level. Although we haven’t quite achieved that goal yet, we’ve managed to grow the Ambassadors Programme from an initial 60 volunteers to more than 250.
The Ambassadors Programme was inspired by the work of Dr David Unwin. An NHS GP based in Southport, Dr Unwin has been instrumental in demonstrating the impact of lifestyle upon patient health, while saving money for the NHS and improving the work environment of healthcare professionals. Dr Unwin often says that instead of getting complaints from patients about the side effects of drugs, he now gets compliments from patients about the improvements in their health.
Dr Unwin has many peer-reviewed papers, but his most recent, published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health (http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjnph-2020-000072), presents data from his patients over the past 6 years. It reveals that 93% of Dr Unwin’s patients with prediabetes attained a normal HbA1c, and 46% of patients with type 2 diabetes achieved drug-free remission. The study also calculated that “Since 2015, there has been a relative reduction in practice prescribing of drugs for diabetes leading to a T2D prescribing budget £50 885 per year less than average for the area.” If all 9,400 NHS GP practices in the country used this approach, it would translate to savings of over £475 million per year for the NHS. For more information on how to adapt diabetes medication we recommend reading an article published in the British Journal of General Practice titled “Adapting diabetes medication for low carbohydrate management of type 2 diabetes: a practical guide” (https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp19X704525).
Based on Dr Unwin’s inspiring work, the Ambassadors Programme aims to show every NHS GP practice in the country what is possible within the current framework. To that end, this document presents case studies of the work done by NHS GP practices, independent healthcare professionals and PHC Ambassador Support Groups. All of which demonstrate the results of using a similar approach to that of Dr Unwin. We hope that their words and data inspire you.
If you’d like to get in touch with your local ambassador you can find their contact details on the PHC website at www.PHCuk.org/ambassadors, or if you’d like to contact someone from one of our case studies, you’ll find their email address in the title of their section.
What’s more, if you are a healthcare professional using an approach aligned to that outlined here, and you would like to share it with the world by contributing to this ongoing document, then please email [email protected]. I’d be more than happy to add your case study to the ever-increasing evidence base for lifestyle healthcare.
Best wishes,Sam Feltham
Director of the Public Health Collaboration