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Diabetes is Serious – England

Over the last year, our Diabetes is Serious campaign has been calling on the UK government to take action to ensure diabetes isn’t left out of the conversation as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic. This is vital so that people with diabetes in England can get access to the right care.

While the government has focused on cutting waiting lists for operations and other planned care, people with diabetes have continually been put to the back of the queue. Despite the importance of annual checks and support to stay well, one in six people have not had contact with their diabetes healthcare team since the pandemic started. Too many people with diabetes are waiting for cancelled appointments to be rescheduled, more than a year on.  

It’s time the government gave diabetes care the attention it deserves.  

How we've been campaigning recently

At the start of this year, we surveyed more than 11,000 people living with diabetes or caring for someone with diabetes in England about their experience during 2022.  The survey revealed that 48% of respondents experienced difficulties managing their diabetes in 2022, demonstrating the need for greater support for people living with diabetes.  

It also highlighted unequal access to diabetes care, and the disproportionate impact this is having on people in the most deprived areas.  

Read our latest Diabetes is Serious Report

We’ve now published the findings for England which showed that: 

  • 48% of those who took part told us that they experienced difficulties managing their diabetes in 2022.   

  • 50% of them put this down to lack of access to their healthcare team. Other causes people pointed to include:  

    • 37% to not being as physically active or able to exercise as normal.  

    • 28% to the increasing costs of living.  

    • 27% to a change in eating habits. 

  • 38% of respondents found it difficult to make appointments for their diabetes checkups.  

  • More than half (52%) who had tried to get emotional or psychological support, faced difficulties doing so. 

The report showed that diabetes care is not recovering equally across England. People from the most deprived areas more likely to report difficulties managing their diabetes, and more likely to cite a lack of care and support as a reason.

1 in 3 people in the most deprived areas found it difficult to contact their diabetes healthcare team in 2022, compared to 1 in 4 in the least deprived. 

“Diabetes is a complex condition and the repercussions over time are very serious, so I don’t feel a consultant can examine someone with just a checklist over the phone. There needs to be a commitment to manage my condition properly." 

What are we calling for? 

1. The Government’s Major Conditions Strategy should focus on improving diabetes care, to support everyone with diabetes to stay well and reduce the number of people developing devastating complications. 

2. The Government should implement the 2020 obesity strategy in full and without further delay, including the restrictions on junk food marketing. 

3. Local health systems should set out in their plans how they will catch up on the diabetes backlog and tackle inequalities in diabetes care. 

Getting the voices of people with diabetes heard

To demonstrate some of the different challenges some of our community have faced, hundreds of you shared messages and artwork to show what it’s really like for you to live with diabetes day in, day out. We’ve turned all your messages into a giant scrapbook to share with MPs, which we took to Parliament on 23 November 2022.

View the scrapbook here

Getting politicians to understand that diabetes is serious is an important part of our campaigns. We know there’s no one better to get politicians to listen than people who know exactly what it’s like to live with diabetes. That’s why we have a team of Campaign Champions across England to help us improve diabetes care.

Find out more about our Campaign Champions 

How can I support this campaign? 

We’ve got lots planned in the coming months to raise awareness with MPs and the UK governments. Diabetes is serious. But together, we are too.    

Sign-up for updates so you can keep in touch with the campaign and all the different ways you can get involved.  

Join our campaign

How can I get support?

Access our information and support on all the issues raised in this campaign. 

If you have any questions about the campaign, or about our research, please contact  

Our regional teams across the country are working hard to ensure that diabetes care is at the heart of all local health plans.

Our North of England team recently held an online event that brought together healthcare professionals, people affected by diabetes and decision makers from across the North of England, to look at next steps for getting care in the region back on track. Watch the event using the link below.

Diabetes is serious - North of England launch event - available on YouTube


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