Devon launches pioneering outcomes-based programme to prevent diabetes

  • Healthier Devon is a two-year programme of sustained support for those most at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, to be delivered by Devon-based charity Westbank
  • The programme has been commissioned by Devon County Council, with support from Bridges and Big Lottery Fund
  • It is the first diabetes prevention programme in the UK to be funded by a local authority on a ‘payment by results’ basis – so Devon County Council will only pay for successful outcomes

Healthier Devon, an innovative new support programme designed to prevent people developing Type 2 diabetes, has been launched in Devon this week to coincide with National Diabetes Week.

Nationally, diabetes-related treatment accounts for about 10% of all NHS spending . In Devon alone, there are around 79,000 people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes – and this number is increasing nationally by about 3% per year.
However, many of the risk factors associated with developing Type 2 diabetes are preventable through lifestyle changes. Healthier Devon will work with around 3,500 people at the highest risk of developing the condition. Once referred by their GP, these people will receive sustained help over a two-year period to make positive changes to their lifestyle – to include nutrition, physical exercise and mental wellbeing – via a combination of one-to-one and group sessions.

Healthier Devon has been developed and commissioned by Devon County Council and Bridges Fund Management (through its Social Impact Bond Fund), with support from the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery funding. Exeter-based charity Westbank has been selected to deliver the programme, which will work on a payment-by-results basis – so the council will only make payments if individuals enrolled on the programme show a sustained drop in their weight, their waist circumference and their HbA1c (blood sugars) reading. Devon is the first local authority in the UK to adopt this pioneering approach to diabetes prevention.

Cllr Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“This programme, which is the first of its type in the UK offering two years of sustained support, has the potential to make a significant impact on the health of our local population. Diabetes is one of the biggest preventable diseases, both nationally and in Devon. By tackling it early enough, the programme not only enables people to turn their health outcomes around in the short term, but also provides the support to help people sustain long-term changes to their lifestyle, and their health.”

Jaine Keable, Head of Health and Wellbeing at Westbank, said:
“Healthier Devon is a great outcome from our piloted work through the BIG Lottery funding, and clinical trials supporting those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Our programme support will provide participants with the knowledge, ability and confidence to make changes to their lifestyle so that they get the best chance to reduce their risk of the condition.”

Mila Lukic, partner at Bridges, said:
“By launching this ground-breaking new programme, Devon is showing a real commitment to innovative and impact-driven commissioning. When organisations like Westbank are rewarded on the basis of outcomes they have much more flexibility to tailor their programmes to meet specific local needs. We think this will make it easier for Westbank to help people in Devon avoid developing diabetes – which over time will also reduce the demand on local primary and secondary care services.”

Patients who are eligible to join Healthier Devon will be referred for an appointment by their GP surgery through the Devon Referral Support Service.

The Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund team has now helped to design and deliver 25 social outcomes contracts in the UK, which are on track to deliver over £100m of value to more than 50 different central and local government commissioners.



Devon County Council is the largest local authority in South West England. There are around 79,000 people in the county currently classed as being at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. https://new.devon.gov.uk/

Westbank Community Health & Care works with communities and individuals across Devon. Key activities include: health and wellbeing services, a diabetes management and prevention programme, cardiac rehab support and a fully accessible fitness suite; support for isolated and vulnerable people; and a countywide contract to provide information and support for carers. All of this is underpinned by volunteers, of which Westbank has more than 650, who contributed over 31,000 hours during 2017. Westbank is a registered charity established in 1986, with its head office in Exminster, Devon. For more information please see: www.westbank.org.uk

More on Bridges’ social outcomes contracts