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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 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 can I support this campaign? 

We’ve got lots planned in the coming months so that MPs and the UK Government understand that diabetes is serious.  

Together, we are too. So let’s stand up and demand that the Government take action.  

Support our campaign, and keep up to date with our journey for better diabetes care for all.  

Join our campaign 

What does the report say?

In April 2022, we launched our second Diabetes is Serious report in England. Over 10,000 of you told us about your experiences of care over the last two years of the pandemic. What was very clear from our research is that while many of you need more support, your access to vital care and support has got worse.  

Read our latest Diabetes is Serious Report

We found:  

  • One in three of you had no contact with your healthcare team about your diabetes in the past year, with one in six not having had any contact since before the pandemic. 

  • Almost half of you have reported having difficulties managing your diabetes during the pandemic 

  • For 60% of you having difficulties managing your diabetes, you said this was because you didn’t have enough contact with your healthcare team 

An unequal recovery of diabetes care

We know that as our health system learns to live with the impacts of coronavirus, diabetes services are working hard to get back on track. However, our research shows inequalities in how hard different areas have been hit across the country. Often services in areas that are more deprived were worst affected and people with diabetes in these areas are more likely to have difficulties managing their diabetes.  

We found:  

  • People in the most deprived areas were nearly twice as likely to have had no contact with their diabetes healthcare team since the beginning of the pandemic than those in the least deprived (24% compared with 13%) and 44% reported they had found it much more difficult to contact their healthcare team in the past year than pre-pandemic, compared to 36% in the least deprived areas.  

  • 71% of people in the most deprived areas who had experienced difficulties managing their condition during the pandemic attributed this at least in part to not having sufficient access to their health care team compared to 60% from the least deprived areas  

  • People from more deprived areas were more likely to have been having difficulties in managing their diabetes and 33% of people in the most deprived areas who reported difficulties in managing their diabetes said that they did not have sufficient access to emotional and psychological support compared to 23% in the least deprived.  

  • Over a quarter (28%) of people in the most deprived quintile had found it much more difficult to maintain a healthy weight compared to 19% of those in the least deprived.  

“I have had one telephone appointment since 2019, where blood glucose was discussed. In my opinion this is especially poor as I have a number of complications.”  

Our Recommendations

  • A recovery plan from UK Government specifically addressing the challenges facing diabetes services, including staffing constraints, so that people with the condition can access the vital support they need.    

  • A renewed commitment to improving outcomes for people with, and at risk of, diabetes in the forthcoming refresh of the NHS Long Term Plan – and the further investment needed to make this happen.  

  • A cross-government strategy to tackle health inequalities in the forthcoming White Paper on Health Disparities.    

  • Integrated Care Systems to urgently draw up plans to catch up on the backlog of diabetes care, with the aim of ensuring everyone with diabetes has had a review of the key care processes and their care plan by the end of 2022.   

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 campaigns@diabetes.org.uk  

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

North of England

Our North of England team recently held an online event which 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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