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Objectives: Significant problems with patients engaging with diabetes self-management education (DSME) exist. The role of healthcare professionals (HCPs) has been highlighted, with a lack of enthusiasm, inadequate information provision and poor promotion of available programmes all cited as affecting patients’ decisions to attend. However, little is known about HCPs’ views towards DSME. This study investigates the views of HCPs towards self-management generally and self-management in the context of DSME more specifically. Design: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews to investigate HCPs views of type 2 diabetes self-management and DSME. Data were analysed thematically and emergent themes were mapped on to the constructs of Normalisation Process Theory (NPT). Setting: Two boroughs in London, UK. Participants: Sampling was purposive to recruit a diverse range of professional roles including GPs, practice nurses, diabetes specialist nurses, healthcare assistants (HCAs), receptionists and commissioners of care. Results: Interviews were conducted with 22 participants. The NPT analysis demonstrated that while a self-management approach to diabetes care was viewed by HCPs as necessary and, in principle, valuable, the reality is much more complex. HCPs expressed ambivalence about pushing certain patients into self-managing, preferring to retain responsibility. There was a lack of awareness among HCPs about the content of DSME and benefits to patients. Commitment to and engagement with DSME was tempered by concerns about suitability for some patients. There was little evidence of communication between providers of group-based DSME and HCPs or of HCPs engaging in work to follow-up non-attenders. Conclusions: HCPs have concerns about the appropriateness of DSME for all patients and discussed challenges to engaging with and performing the tasks required to embed the approach within practice. DSME, as a means of supporting self-management, was considered important in theory, but there was little evidence of HCPs seeing their role as extending beyond providing referrals.

More information Original publication




Journal article


Diabetes and Endocrinology


BMJ Open

Publication Date



Launching Fellow: Jamie Ross UCL