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We’re calling on employers and political parties to help people with diabetes receive vital health checks

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This Diabetes Week, we’re highlighting how important it is for people to get all their diabetes health checks. And we are calling on all political parties to make sure people with diabetes have the support they need to get these check-ups and stay well. 

Effective diabetes management requires attending routine medical appointments for diabetes health checks.  

For people with all types of diabetes, these include a diabetic eye check, feet checks, and HbA1c tests. These regular checks are crucial for early identification of risks, and informing the care and treatment which may be needed to prevent complications.  

Support from employers 

But our Tackling Inequality Commission has found that for too many people, work can be barrier to getting the right diabetes support and being able to live well with diabetes. 

Healthcare appointments and education courses are often only available during working hours, and too many people with diabetes struggle to get the time off they need. This is especially concerning when more and more people under 40 are developing type 2 diabetes

We want workers with diabetes to have stigma-free workplaces and to be able to access care and support easily. This Diabetes Week 2024, we want you to know what you’re entitled to as a worker with diabetes. Your rights include: 

  • Protection from discrimination because you have diabetes – people with diabetes are covered by the Equality Act (2010) in England, Scotland and Wales, and the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) in Northern Ireland. 
  • Entitlement to request reasonable adjustments, such as time off to attend appointments, flexible working hours, and more frequent breaks to eat, check blood sugar levels, or take insulin. 

Any reasonable adjustments should be confirmed in writing. You can ask for reasonable adjustments at any time, including during the recruitment process. Employers should take your lead on what adjustments you might need. Your employer should not make assumptions, and should get advice from services like Occupational Health if they need to.  

What we want to see from the next government 

The election on 4 July 2024 will be a huge opportunity for the next government to give people with diabetes the support that they need both in and out of work.  

We need ambitious action to address the underlying causes of ill health across society. This means making sure people with diabetes have the support they need to get their routine diabetes check-ups and stay well.  

In the meantime, we will be responding to the DWP consultations on PIP and fit notes to make sure these consider the experiences of people living with diabetes.  
We are calling on all parties to commit to: 

  • A right to paid time off to attend appointments for all workers. This will put an end to the lottery of having to rely on having an understanding manager, especially where people may be at risk of type 2 diabetes but are undiagnosed, or for parents and carers of children and young people with diabetes. You can find out more about what we want to see from government and employers to support people with diabetes in the workplace by reading our Employment Position Statement. 
  • Ensuring wages and social security are enough for people to live healthy lives and stay well. That’s why we’re supporters of an Essentials Guarantee.

If you’re facing issues at work, or have questions about discrimination or reasonable adjustments, you can contact our helpline staff who are here to support you. 

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