Lowers HbA1c
by one per cent
Evidence base
For the NHS
by the NHS
Educator accounts


How did it begin?

Starting at the beginning the DESMOND Newly Diagnosed and Foundation modules are made up of 6 hours of group sessions delivered in the community to a maximum of 10 people with Type 2 diabetes. The participants can choose to be accompanied by a family member or friend.

The modules has detailed written curriculums to ensure consistency, no matter where they are delivered. The Educators delivering the courses are healthcare professionals working in the community – mainly practice nurses, diabetes specialist nurses or dietitians, although there are now some podiatrist and pharmacist Educators!

Resources include patient support material especially written or produced for the modules and meeting its empowering philosophy. Participants are not ‘taught’ in a formal way, but are rather supported to discover and work out knowledge, and to allow this to inform the goals and plans they make for themselves.

Educators have been trained to deliver the DESMOND modules through preparation and self study, various training days and supported by an ongoing quality assurance and professional development pathway. Our training has been devised by an experienced multidisciplinary team drawn from the Collaborative membership.

Original Pilot

The Newly Diagnosed module was originally piloted in 17 primary care trusts across England before the start of a randomised controlled trial, the gold-standard scientific evaluation in which over 1,000 participants took part. This makes the trial one of the largest scientific studies of its kind ever conducted, and the largest global study into education provided at diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. The results of this important research were published in the British Medical Journal in February 2008.

What makes it special?

The question is frequently asked as to how the DESMOND modules differs from other structured education, and what makes it so special.

Whilst the curriculum is based on topics most healthcare professionals would of this type, all DESMOND modules are unusual in having a theoretical and philosophical basis.

DESMOND Philosophy

The DESMOND philosophy informs the whole structure of the patient courses from the choice of topics to the emphasis of the training for Educators, and the style of delivery which focuses firmly on the individual circumstances of the participants.

The DESMOND philosophy recognises that individualising health risks may improve motivation. While it is important not to minimise negative messages of the complications of diabetes, these should be followed by an action plan, which allows people to think positively about their control of their own situation.

In all DESMOND modules, individuals are supported to identify their own health risks and then respond by setting personalised goals which are behavioural and specific. Supporting people to be confident self managers of their diabetes is essential to achieving these goals.


Feedback from primary care trusts involved has been positive. Healthcare professionals have gained new and transferable skills as Educators, and patients have been full of praise for their experience. The DESMOND Programme has also raised awareness of diabetes issues in GP practices, and in some cases even strengthened links between primary care and specialist diabetes services.


Following the success of the Newly Diagnosed module, the DESMOND Team have completed and made available a Foundation module for people with established diabetes, a version of these which is culturally appropriate for the South Asian community BME (Back Minority and Ethnic) and a prevention module called Walking Away from Diabetes

New research studies are developing a prevention education module Let’s prevent Diabetes for people at risk of diabetes, and a module of Ongoing Diabetes education for life.

Our Training and Quality Development Programme for Educators has been recognised in its own right by winning the Skills Development category in the Health Service Journal Awards for 2007.