Diabetes Prevention Programs (DPPs) comprising intensive lifestyle interventions may delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with pre-diabetes. However, engagement with DPPs is variable with session times and transportation being reported amongst barriers; this may be addressed by community pharmacy (CP) involvement given its recognition for accessibility.
To explore factors influencing engagement with the National Health Service (NHS) DPP and the role of CP in diabetes prevention.
Nine hundred and sixty-two questionnaires were posted to people with pre-diabetes identified from five general practices in Norfolk, England between November 2017 and May 2018. Follow-up semi-structured interviews (n = 10) and a focus group (n = 6) were conducted with a sample of questionnaire respondents. Questionnaire data were analysed quantitatively using SPSS and qualitative data analysed inductively using thematic analysis. Themes relating to engagement and the role of CP in pre-diabetes were further analysed using the COM-B model of behaviour change.
A total of 181 (18.8%) questionnaire responses were received, a quarter of whom reported to have either dropped out or declined attending the national DPP. DPP engagers were more likely to report the program location and session times as convenient. Community pharmacy was perceived as an acceptable setting for delivering diabetes prevention services (DPS) and a preferable alternative for regular pharmacy users and people with work and social commitments.
Participants felt that opportunity to engage with CP DPS is enhanced by its accessibility and flexibility in making appointments. Knowledge about the DPS provided in CP and previous experience with CP services were central influences of capability and motivation to engage respectively.
This research outlines factors that could influence engagement with community pharmacy-based DPS and provides evidence to inform intervention development. Further research would be required to determine the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of such interventions.