A DOCTOR has heaped praise on a lifestyle programme which helped more than 40 of his patients shed the pounds and successfully manage their diabetes.

Dr Saqib Mahmud, a GP partner and diabetes lead at Jones Family Practice and Church View Surgery in Hockley, backed MoreLife - a holistic programme which helps diabetes patients with weight loss.

In 2019, Dr Mahmud referred 43 patients on to the programme, which is suitable for anyone with Type 2 diabetes and a body mass index of 35-plus.

Patients attended three months of weekly face-to-face group sessions at the fire station in Hockley, hosted by an expert team of nutritionists, psychologists and sport and exercise specialists.

Julie Skinner, 60, from Hockley, was one of the first patients referred by Dr Mahmud.

At the time of joining, she had a body mass index of 40 and was living with Type 2 diabetes.

Following the 12-month programme, Julie has lost four stone, reduced her body mass index to 31 and improved insulin levels by more than 30 per cent.

She said: “I was apprehensive at first and low on confidence, but Dr Mahmud had such a positive attitude and really pushed me to take part.

“I now eat a lot better, take part in more physical exercise and as a result I feel healthier and happier.

“If I can do it, anyone can do it and now that I have lost the weight, I’m never going back.”

Dr Mahmud said: “I alone wouldn’t be able to tackle the obesity problem in my area.

“It seemed ideal to pair up the medical advice I was offering my patients with the practical weight management expertise of MoreLife.

“I am able to offer more effective solutions for my patients and as a result, they are seeing more positive outcomes.”

“All it took was a little time and effort to reach the right patients.

“My colleague and clinical services manager Charlotte Ross proactively searched our patient register to identify those who would most benefit from the programme and then together we sent letters and called each patient to make them aware.”

In 2019, Dr Mahmud referred 43 patients on to the programme which has made a huge difference to people’s lives.

Alongside proactively engaging with patients, Dr Mahmud has championed the MoreLife service by sharing positive outcomes with the European Study of Obesity report and encouraging doctors to take inspiration from the joined-up approach.

MoreLife currently delivers the weight management programmes to more than 360 people across Thurrock, Basildon, Brentwood, Southend, Castle Point and Rochford.

Bosses hope more GPs and community organisations will engage with their services to help patients turn a corner with weight loss.

Emily Costelloe, from MoreLife in South and West Essex, said; “Dr Mahmud is a shining example of how engagement can lead to happier and healthier patients.”