Youth Empowerment Skills (YES) for teenagers with Type 1 diabetes

Youth Empowerment Skills (YES) for teenagers with Type 1 diabetes

Guy’s and St Thomas’ YES programme gives 14-19 year-olds in south London the support they need to live with Type 1 diabetes. Participants meet other young people with Type 1 diabetes, building confidence and developing a peer support network. Learn how the Health Innovation Network (HIN) supported the programme to scale up from one London borough to twelve.

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The YES programme combines social activities organised by a trained youth worker with a three-day interactive workshop delivered by the hospital diabetes clinical team.

The workshop provides a safe space for topical discussions and support around:

  • alcohol and drugs
  • living with diabetes
  • relationships
  • staying safe
  • healthy eating
  • where to get advice
  • fully funded social activities

Lessons learnt

  • Running it on a regional /Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) basis so you can run at least three courses a year and join forces.
  • The input from the whole multi-disciplinary team (MDT) is key.
  • Including the Youth Worker element is an essential element in encouraging patient engagement.
  • Having a badge of quality assurance helps commissioning conversations.



How did the Innovation Exchange help?

The HIN successfully supported the Guy’s and St Thomas’ diabetes team to apply for funding from the NHS England and NHS Improvement treatment and care transformation fund to scale up the programme. The fund supported the spread of the programme from being available in just Lambeth to all south London boroughs. The target was to deliver YES to 32 young people across south London over a three year period (2017 – 2020) using a hub and spoke model.

The HIN provided project management to the busy clinical team to design and implement the model, support with recruiting a youth worker, support with developing the curriculum and also taking the team through a quality assurance programme- becoming the first Type 1 young persons course to get national accreditation via QISMET.

Impact & Outcomes

This project has been taken on by the London Diabetes Clinical Network to spread pan – London.

  • Winner of 2020 HSJ Value Award for Diabetes Care Initiative of the Year
  • Associated improvement in young people’s attendance at their regular monthly clinic at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital – up to 75 percent from 66 per cent
  • The young people have seen clinically significant improvements in their blood sugar levels which has been sustained over a period of 12 months
  • Reduction in admissions to hospital for diabetes including for the potentially serious diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)