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What is DAFNE?

The UK’s National Institute of Clinical Excellence (an agency which gives expert advice on treatments and services provided by the National Health Service) recommends that ‘structured patient education’ is offered to everyone with type 1 diabetes to enable them to manage their condition. The diabetes team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals run two educational courses aimed at people with type 1 diabetes, called DAFNE and GATTO, whereas in Southwark the DAFNE course is run by the diabetes team at King's College Hospital.

What is DAFNE?

DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating) is a patient education programme which teaches people with type 1 diabetes the skills they need to adjust their insulin doses to match what they eat. The aim of the course is to support people with diabetes to manage their condition with minimal change to their daily routine, while ensuring they maintain good blood glucose control.

The DAFNE course is based on a well-tested educational model and is provided in many centres across the National Health Service. The course has 3 components:

  • A skills-based training course which runs over 5 consecutive days.
  • A follow-up session which takes place around 8 weeks after the initial course.
  • An annual half-day refresher session.


What Will I Learn?

The DAFNE teaching programme is delivered to groups of 6-8 participants by DAFNE-trained diabetes specialist nurses and dietitians. The course covers topics such as estimating the carbohydrate content in foods, blood glucose and ketone monitoring, insulin adjustment, hypos, illness and exercise. Participants are encouraged to learn new skills in carbohydrate estimation and insulin adjustment through practical experience. Learning involves sharing and comparing experience with other people with type 1 diabetes, however there are opportunities for participants to speak to a doctor, nurse or dietitian individually.

As its name suggest, DAFNE is based on insulin adjustment and involves:

  • 1 or 2 injections of long-acting (background) insulin each day.
  • Additional injections of quick-acting insulin each time you eat.
  • Testing blood glucose before each insulin injection.


Although many people with type 1 diabetes may already take 3 to 5 injections each day, often their insulin regimen may not be well matched to the food that they eat. The aim of the DAFNE programme is to resolve this mismatch, so that insulin doses can be adjusted according to the person’s preferences about the timing and content of meals.


What Else is Involved?





Before doing a course you will need to attend a clinic appointment for an assessment with a DAFNE educator to have a blood test, and for advice if you need to make adjustment prior to the course. There will also be a questionnaire for you to complete so that we can monitor the effects of DAFNE on your quality of life and overall diabetes control.


How Will I Benefit?

Research has shown that people who complete the DAFNE programme benefit through:


Research has shown that people who complete the DAFNE programme benefit through:


Research has shown that people who complete the DAFNE programme benefit through:


Research has shown that people who complete the DAFNE programme benefit through:



In fact, there is such good evidence that the DAFNE course is beneficial to participants that the Government recommends that everyone with type 1 diabetes should be offered a place on a DAFNE course through the NHS.

How Can I Find Out More?

For more information about the DAFNE programme in Lambeth and Southwark, contact a DAFNE Administrator (see below). If you wish to attend the course you will need a referral from your GP or a member of your diabetes healthcare team. If you are concerned about attending the course during work time, members of the DAFNE team are able to write to your employer on your behalf.

Louise Hampton, DAFNE Administrator for Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals
Diabetes and Endocrine Day Centre
3rd Floor Lambeth Wing
St Thomas’ Hospital
Tel: 020 7188 1993
Fax: 020 7188 1991


Anita Beckwith, Diabetes Specialist Dietitian and DAFNE Coordinator for King’s College Hospital
Nutrition and Dietetics Department
King’s College Hospital
Tel: 020 3299 1812
Fax: 020 3299 3243


More information on the DAFNE programme, including personal accounts from participants, is available online here.



Carbohydrates and diabetes

Carbohydrates and diabetes
Considering the glycaemic effect of different forms of carbohydrate can be an effective way of regulating blood glucose.

Dietetic advice

Dietetic advice
Diabetes specialist dietitians provide nutritional assessments and dietary advice and support to patients with diabetes