The pandemic has highlighted how serious diabetes is, as people with the condition are more vulnerable to developing severe illness if they get coronavirus.
While healthcare professionals across the country have worked tirelessly throughout this period, the pandemic has significantly impacted people with diabetes' access to vital health checks and support. Altogether, people with diabetes have been one of the groups most affected by the pandemic and should be at the heart of the Government's plans to support the country and health system as it rebuilds.
How can I support this campaign?
We need the Government to understand just how serious diabetes is. One in 14 people in the UK are now living with diabetes, and the number of people diagnosed with the condition has doubled in the last 15 years. Our Diabetes is Serious campaign calls on the Government to make sure diabetes care and prevention is a priority, and to provide it with the investment and attention it needs.
You can sign our open letter to the new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid. This letter asks him to take action and recognise that diabetes is serious, and should be a key priority as we recover from the pandemic.
Diabetes Can't Wait - our report that shows that diabetes is serious
Our 'Diabetes Can't Wait' report outlines our learnings and insights about the experiences people with diabetes have had during the coronavirus pandemic. In it, we make recommendations to Government to build on the successes achieved in recent years to address the significant gaps and inequalities that remain in diabetes care and prevention.
The experience of people living with diabetes during the pandemic
- One in three people with diabetes are still waiting for cancelled appointments during the pandemic to be rescheduled.
- A further third of people with diabetes have had no contact with their healthcare professional team during the pandemic.
- Nearly half of respondents had difficulties managing their diabetes during the pandemic.
- 84% of people who use technology agreed that it helped self-management of their diabetes during the pandemic.
- Over a third of respondents (35%) reported poor mental health during the pandemic because of their diabetes.
- Only 29% of people with diabetes, when asked what would help them feel more confident returning to normal life, said they already feel confident doing so.
- Our survey also found that those from more deprived areas and people from minority ethnic communities responded more negatively about their experiences in accessing care during the pandemic.
"My consultant cancelled my appointment early on in the pandemic, kept writing to me saying they're going to have a phone call with me, but they kept cancelling it again and again.
"Eventually I got to talk to her for 10 minutes, where they went through a standard list of questions that weren't that helpful. My diabetes care has fallen off a cliff - that's the only way I can describe it at the moment." - Focus Group Participant
What are we calling for?
Our full recommendations can be found in our report, however the key areas of change we want to see from the Government are:
- more investment into the system where it's needed, to better support and expand the workforce supporting people with diabetes across primary, specialist and inpatient care
- support for services to tackle missed checks and appointments and get diabetes services back in full swing, so you can get back to receiving excellent care and support
- expanded access to diabetes tech to support more people with diabetes remotely
- improved emotional support for those who need it after the stresses of the pandemic
- making prevention of type two diabetes a priority, now and in the future.
How will this help me if I'm in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?
This campaign is running in England, as we know the Westminster Government are about to start setting their spending priorities for the coming years. Later this year, we will be taking action to make sure that decision makers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland recognise that diabetes is serious too.
This will provide an opportunity to make the case to Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Senedd and the Northern Ireland Assembly to invest in diabetes care and prevention, and make it a priority across the whole of the UK.
How can I get support?
Access our information and support on all the issues raised in this campaign.