Type 2 diabetes screenings are set to be carried out at a Premier League football game in Southampton this weekend.
Dr Mayank Patel, a diabetes consultant from University Hospital Southampton (UHS) NHS Foundation Trust, will lead a team of nurses who will carrying out finger prick tests to measure football supporters’ HbA1c levels at the ground.
Southampton and Cardiff City attendees of all ages and genders can participate in the free screening.
Dr Patel, who will be stationed in a marquee next to the Gasworks Lounge outside the Kingsland Stand at St Mary’s, said: “It is possible to live undiagnosed with type 2 diabetes for months as it does not always cause symptoms but it can cause internal damage, so the earlier it is diagnosed the sooner treatment can begin.
“We know that many people may be at risk of developing the condition and a large number do not attend testing when called for by their GP, so this is an innovative approach at trying to tackle some of those who may be at increased risk.”
The idea of combining the screening tests with football was courtesy of Dr Mike Sadler, a clinical non-executive director at UHS.
He said: “As far as we’re aware this is the first time screening has been carried out at a football match and it is a chance for people to help their health at the same time as supporting their football team.
“If the pilot is successful, we are hopeful this will lay the foundation for potential screening clinics at football grounds across the country to help tackle what is a significant and growing problem.”
The pilot is being funded by Southampton Hospital Charity and supported by Saints Foundation and the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation.
Kick off on Saturday is 15:00, but the screening team will be on site from midday.