Diabetes does not affect everyone equally. Your ethnic group, where you live and your income all affect your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, the care you get for any type of diabetes and your long-term outcomes.
Diabetes UK has made a commitment to tackle this inequality, both through our own work and by calling on others to do the same.
In 2023, we launched the Tackling Inequality Commission to view the multiple factors that contribute to health inequality through the lens of those most at risk of inequality in diabetes, namely those experiencing poverty as well as Black and South Asian communities.
Nearly one year on, we have launched our first Tackling Inequality Report. Read on to find out how it was developed, why it’s so crucial and what we’re asking people to do.
The Tackling Inequalities Commission Report findings
Since the Tackling Inequality Commission was set up, we’ve been listening to the voices of people with diabetes who’ve experienced the impact of inequality on their health, and to the healthcare professionals and organisations working to ensure everyone has the same chance to fair care through focus groups and in-depth interviews.
Our new report draws on detailed experiences shared by over 130 people with diabetes, of all ages and from all corners of the UK.
It's clear that systemic, long-term changes to the health system in the UK are vital – and that the inequalities we’re seeing in diabetes care are unacceptable and avoidable.
We know that diabetes doesn’t affect everyone equally – the conditions you’re born in, live in and work in, as well as your ethnicity, all contribute to your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes as well as impact the care you receive for any type of diabetes.
We need healthcare professionals, policymakers and organisations to come together to play their respective parts in making these tangible and achievable changes happen without delay.
Our commission report sets out a series of recommendations depending on where you work, and whether you’re making changes as an individual, or at an organisational level, to deliver the change that’s needed. It draws out the significant challenges people living in deprivation are facing and acknowledges that racism is a public health issue that needs a bold and sustained cultural shift to eradicate.
And this can’t be done without understanding the lenses through which our calls to action need to be considered, which is why we’ve laid out 4 key principles to consider when you put them into action.
What is the Tackling Inequalities Commission?
The Diabetes UK Tackling Inequality Commission was set up in January 2023. It is co-chaired by:
- Dr Faye Ruddock: Chair of the Caribbean & African Health Network, and Director of the health Equity and Social Justice Institute, University of Bolton
- Professor Linda Bauld: Bruce and John Usher Chair in Public Health in the Usher Institute, College of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and Chief Social Policy Adviser to the Scottish Government.
Colette Marshall, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said:
“We are honoured to launch our Tackling Inequality Commission report. Many people and communities have contributed to make it the powerful call-for-action that it is.
"Together we have created a series of practical, but ambitious, recommendations aimed at tackling inequality in diabetes care: for healthcare professionals, for services, for government, and crucially, for us as the largest diabetes charity in the UK.
“We’ve listened to people affected by inequality and now we’re determined to put those learnings into action, both in our own house and in partnership with others.”
Dr Faye Ruddock said:
“I am delighted that this report amplifies the voices of communities experiencing racial inequalities, along with those facing deprivation, which often go hand in hand.
"We must now work with communities and system leaders to ensure that the calls in this report are backed by action and accountability and lead to the change needed to address systemic and structural racism through our policies, practices, guidance and research.”
Professor Linda Bauld said:
“This report shows us how much where you live, work, grow and age affect your risk of diabetes and your ability to access the care and support you need.
"We need policy makers to listen to the people most affected and commit to the long-term changes needed to remove the unacceptable inequality we currently see in diabetes.”
For further information about the Diabetes UK Tackling Inequality Commission, including requests for a presentation or discussion at a meeting, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are living with diabetes and would like to be involved in guiding our work through projects like this join our communities in action group where you will have regular opportunities to tell us your views. Find out more here.
This Tackling Inequality Commission Report has been developed by Diabetes UK and its designated co-chairs, kindly supported by sponsorship funding from Eli Lilly and Company, and Abbott. These sponsors have contributed evidence where appropriate through our open calls but have had no responsibility for developing or shaping the content of this work or the recommendations of the report.