Diabetes UK Chief Executive, Chris Askew OBE has written a letter calling on the Government to be prepared to act quickly to protect the clinically vulnerable, including those living with diabetes, as coronavirus restrictions lift across the UK.
In the letter, first published in the Guardian on Friday, 16 July, he said:
“For sixteen months many people with diabetes have been making incredibly difficult decisions about life, family and work, to try to keep themselves safe while the pandemic has devastated communities across the UK.
“The pandemic has disproportionately affected people with diabetes and many will be deeply worried about the upcoming lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England. We understand and share their concerns.
“Vaccines work – and remain the best way for people with diabetes to protect themselves from the virus. We urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated without delay. We also want the public to remember that masks protect others, and to be thoughtful of those who have conditions that put them at greater risk.
“But encouraging people to use their good judgement after 19 July doesn’t go far enough, and we’re concerned the guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people – many of whom have diabetes alongside other serious conditions – offers little protection, and simply places the responsibility on individuals to try to navigate their lives with fear and anxiety.
“As England enters this third wave, we fear the enormous pressure placed on the NHS and healthcare professionals these past sixteen months will continue, and diabetes care – which has already suffered – will continue to struggle with cancelled and delayed appointments.
“To put further pressure on our already-stretched NHS by lifting restrictions at this crucial time could be devastating, and have long-lasting consequences to those living with long-term health conditions like diabetes.
“As restrictions lift, we expect Government to observe closely and, if the situation demands, act immediately through legislation and policy to protect clinically vulnerable people and the NHS.”
Alongside this, Diabetes UK has signed up to #NotTooMuchToMask, a campaign supported by charities, medical colleges and NHS bodies urging the public to continue wearing face coverings, washing their hands, keeping indoor spaces well-ventilated and getting vaccinated. This is to keep themselves and others safe, particularly those who are clinically vulnerable to coronavirus.
We know that it might be a difficult or worrying time if you’re living with diabetes, but we’re here to help. You can keep up to the date on the latest coronavirus guidance and advice on our website, including tips on staying well and looking after your diabetes when you’re at home.
If you need more support or want to talk things through with someone, call our helpline to speak to one of our trained advisors. We also have a useful coronavirus thread on our online forum, where members are sharing information and experiences so you might find answers to any more questions.