What is Helpline?
The Diabetes UK Helpline (formerly Careline) is a dedicated diabetes helpline for all people with diabetes, their family or friends, and people who are worried they might be at risk.
The confidential helpline is staffed by trained counsellors who have extensive knowledge of diabetes. They can provide information about the condition, take the time to talk things through and explore emotional, social, psychological or practical difficulties.
How can we help?
We can help with queries about a range of topics. Here are just a few examples of the questions we are often asked:
- I've just been diagnosed. What should I do now?
- I'm finding it difficult to accept the diagnosis – how do I cope?
- What can I and can't I eat? Can I still drink alcohol?
- What are the different types of tablets and insulin? What are the possible side effects?
- When and how often should I test?
- What should my blood glucose levels be? What if they go too high or too low?
- What's the law about driving?
- I'm about to go on holiday abroad. How do I keep my insulin cool in a hot country? What else do I need to consider when travelling?
- My child has diabetes and finds it hard to give up his treats. Why don't you recommend diabetic chocolate and sweets?
Not everyone has a specific query; some just call simply to talk through their concerns or how they’re feeling.
Please be aware that we don't have access to your medical records, so you may need to go back to your healthcare team for answers to some questions.
If you would like to speak with us in a language other than English, just call the Helpline number and tell us your name, telephone number and the language you wish to speak in. We will then arrange for an interpreter to call you back within a few minutes.
Because of the security restrictions at airports, I was concerned about taking my medication with me on the plane. The Helpline explained I could get a letter from my doctor to confirm my condition and the need to have syringes and insulin with me. After the call I felt relieved that this issue would not add to further difficulties when travelling.
Having lived with Type 1 diabetes all my life, I have contacted Helpline on many other occasions too. The nature of my enquiries has been varied, but the empathy and support of the Helpline has always remained constant.
Having been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I was finding the whole blood glucose level thing very confusing. I phoned the Helpline and spoke to a fantastic lady who explained very simply what I was doing right and what was wrong and, at last, I understand more fully how diet is important; as is when to eat and when not to exercise.
The Helpline is brilliant and the people so knowledgeable and helpful.
Helpline in Scotland
Uses a different telephone number (0141 212 8710) to Diabetes UK Helpline. Calls originating in Scotland are answered by qualified counsellors based in Diabetes Scotland's Glasgow office. If no-one in Helpline Scotland is available, calls will automatically be forwarded to the Helpline service in London.
You can also email Helpline Scotland using firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contacting Helpline by letter
Send your letters to:
Diabetes UK Helpline
Diabetes UK Helpline Scotland
349 Bath Street
*Calls to 0345 numbers cost no more than calls to geographic (01 and 02) numbers and must be included in inclusive minutes on mobile phones and discount schemes. Calls from landlines are typically charged between 2p and 10p per minute while calls from mobiles typically cost between 10p and 40p per minute. Calls from landlines and mobiles to 0345 numbers are included in free call packages.
Calls may be recorded for quality and training purposes.
Diabetes UK services are confidential. However, we may share information you give with others if a member of staff or volunteer has concerns about your own or someone else's safety or well-being. We would need to share what you tell us with someone if:
- You ask us to
- We believe your life or someone else’s life is in danger
- You tell us that you or someone else is being, or is at risk of being abused by another person.