Objective To test the effectiveness of peer support for patients with type 2 diabetes.Design Cluster randomised controlled.Setting 20 general practices in the east of the Republic of Ireland.Participants 395 patients (192 in intervention group, 203 in control group) and 29 peer supporters with type 2 diabetes.Intervention All practices introduced a standardised diabetes care system. The peer support intervention ran over a two year period and contained four elements: the recruitment and training of peer supporters, nine group meetings led by peer supporters in participant's own general practice, and a retention plan for the peer supporters.Main outcome measures HbA(1c); cholesterol concentration; systolic blood pressure; and wellbeing score.Results There was no difference between intervention and control patients at baseline. All practices and 85% (337) of patients were followed up. At two year follow-up, there were no significant differences in HbA1c (mean difference -0.08%, 95% confidence interval -0.35% to 0.18%), systolic blood pressure (-3.9 mm Hg, -8.9 to 1.1 mm Hg), total cholesterol concentration (-0.03 mmol/L, -0.28 to 0.22 mmol/L), or wellbeing scores (-0.7, -2.3 to 0.8). While there was a trend towards decreases in the proportion of patients with poorly controlled risk factors at follow-up, particularly for systolic blood pressure (52% (87/166) > 130 mm Hg in intervention v 61% (103/169) > 130 mm Hg in control), these changes were not significant. The process evaluation indicated that the intervention was generally delivered as intended, though 18% (35) of patients in the intervention group never attended any group meetings.Conclusions A group based peer support intervention is feasible in general practice settings, but the intervention was not effective when targeted at all patients with type 2 diabetes. While there was a trend towards improvements of clinical outcomes, the results do not support the widespread adoption of peer support.