STAFF from Darlington Memorial Hospital are set to descend onto the town centre for World Diabetes Day as it is revealed 42,000 people in County Durham are living with type 2 diabetes.

Between 10am and 4pm on Thursday, consultants and nurses from the County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust will offer advice and blood sugar tests to members of the public.

In a marquee opposite the Joseph Pease statue on Northgate, staff will discuss common symptoms of the illness, while people of all ages will be encouraged to learn more about it.

Dr Praveen Partha, Clinical Lead for Diabetes and Endocrinology at the trust, said: “The event is a great opportunity for people of all ages to learn about diabetes, obesity and have access to expert advice.

“There’ll be lots of great entertainment and it promises to be a great day.

“A few consistent lifestyle and diet changes can make a huge difference – even if you don’t have type 2 diabetes, small lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your risk of ever being diagnosed.

"This event will help get this message across for a high number of people."

Latest statistics reveal around 42,000 people across the county are living with type two diabetes, while it is thought one in two, remain undiagnosed.

Left untreated or unmanaged, it can lead to life-changing complications including amputation, blindness, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.

In 2017, more than four million people died as a result of the illness.

Debbie Calland, nurse manager for the diabetes services, said: “We wanted to offer this additional opportunity for people to talk with us about aspects of their treatment, any concerns they might have, or maybe they’re worried they, or a loved one, may be at increased risk of developing diabetes."

Type 2 diabetes is caused when the body cannot produce enough insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels.

At Thursday's event, weight management services and Diabetes UK will offer advice - diabetic eye screening will also take place.

The Darlington Stop Smoking service have confirmed they will carry out carbon monoxide testing and will provide information for people who want to stop smoking.

Ian Neill from Whinfield, who discovered by "accident" that he was at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, said: “I went to see my GP about a digestive problem and her investigations included a blood glucose level test, which was very high.

"She referred me to the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme which involved attending really informative, supportive and interactive sessions on developing a healthy lifestyle.

"The sessions were an hour weekly for four weeks, then monthly for nine months. They helped me reflect on what I could change to become healthier but in quite a fun way, I didn’t feel judged.

"I’ve lost about two and a half stone and started enjoying regular walks and bike rides. My blood glucose level is no longer high and I feel so much better."

The event has been organised by NHS Darlington CCG and NHS County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust to coincide with World Diabetes Day.

  • If you are concerned about your risk of developing type two diabetes, visit