Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Advice for people with diabetes and also their families

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Wales updates on Covid-19 information for people with diabetes

This page is specifically about guidance for people affected by diabetes living in Wales.

We will continue to share relevant information provided by the Welsh Government, NHS Wales (GIG Cymru), Public Health Wales and others on this page.

We also have more information and advice about how coronavirus (Covid-19) can affect people with diabetes, including what to do if you become unwell and what self-isolating and shielding mean. This is being updated regularly with new information as it becomes available.

On this page:

 

Current restrictions in Wales

As of 0:01am on Sunday 20 December, Wales has been placed into into Alert Level 4 or "lockdown". As a result, there is now a uniform set of national rules in force across Wales. Welsh Government has published an FAQ explaining the new rules on their website.

While some lockdown measures are now being eased, you must continue to wear masks in public spaces, social distance, and wash your hands regularly to help prevent the spread of infection.

Despite current restrictions, if you need medical care, it's important you still go to your appointments and get help for urgent medical issues. You can leave your home to access local health services, including your GP surgery, dentist, optometrist or any other health service – the NHS is still open. Try to phone before booked appointments and follow any guidance your local service has put in place to protect you and their staff, including the need to stay socially distant from other patients.

All but essential travel is now advised against and people are asked to stay at home and in their local area.

Advice for those who are clinically vulnerable (people with diabetes)

People with diabetes who are not shielding are still at increased risk or clinically vulnerable to coronavirus. People in this category have been advised to take additional care in following the existing guidance for the general public. 

Thanks to your help in asking for better guidance, Welsh government have developed information for people who are at increased risk or clinically vulnerable, as well as an online risk assessment tool and an online support tool to help you find the support you need.

Advice for those who were shielding (clinically extremely vulnerable)

Welsh Government guidance for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable was updated on 18 March. Individuals who are identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to no longer attend work or school outside the home from 20 December until 1 April.

Latest correspondence from Welsh Government notifies those who are currently advised to shield that shielding will again be paused from 1 April. Previous guidance from Welsh Government, including where you can get more support with things like food supplies, is also still available online.

If you have further questions, you can look at the Welsh Government's FAQs for clinically extremely vulnerable people.

If you still need support accessing food and you do not have anyone to help you, speak with your local council

If you're looking for help or support as a result of the lockdown, or for any other reason, you can give our confidential helpline a call. Our highly trained advisors can talk you through specialist information and provide advice on all aspects of living with diabetes. 

Work advice in Wales

Current advice in Wales is that if you can work from home you must continue to do so.

The Welsh government have published regulations for employees and employers during coronavirus. These regulations give employers additional obligations to ensure that your workplace is safe, including the 2m rule which must be adhered to at all times.

Welsh Government have also confirmed to Diabetes UK Cymru that they expect employers to take individuals’ health conditions into consideration when undertaking the risk assessments require to reopen. If your workplace is indoors and open to the public, wearing a face mask is now compulsory for both staff and the public.

However, many people in Wales have told us they are still unsure of what to do if they cannot work from home, but are told to go back to work. You should only go back to work where it is safe to do so, and in keeping with government guidance. If you are unsure about your level of risk and what is safe for you to do, then you should talk to your local GP. 

The Welsh government has now produced further, more detailed guidance which outlines the measures employers and employees should be taking to reduce risks in different types of workplace. Depending on the sort of place in which you usually work, there may be specific guidance for you and your employer. We recommend people look for information that is relevant to them on the Welsh Government website.

We realise that there may be people living with diabetes who do not feel comfortable returning to work yet. For some, exposure to coronavirus still comes with a very high risk. That is why we are campaigning with several other charities, including Age UK and Kidney Care UK, to extend the option of furlough for workers in the clinically vulnerable and shielding groups. 

Together, we have started a petition to the UK government asking for an extension to furlough for workers, who along with their employer, do not feel they would be safe returning to the workplace. The UK government responded to our petition on 24 August, and stated that those who are in the shielding category (extremely clinically vulnerable) are still able to be furloughed flexibly to support working from home, under the UK government's furlough scheme. The furlough scheme will finish at the end of October. However the new system of financial support for businesses will come into force from the start of November. 

It is important that those who are unable to work from home are able to return to safe working environments.

If you need more advice, contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, also known as ACAS. ACAS have a dedicated coronavirus webpage, or you can contact them on 0300 123 1100.

The Wales TUC have also launched an online Whistleblowing hotline for any worker who may wish to report coronavirus related health and safety concerns. This service is available to anyone, regardless or not of whether they are a member of a trade union.

Financial support in Wales

If you are looking for financial help to pay your bills during the coronavirus pandemic then there is a new Welsh Government advice outlining the different types of financial support that may be available to you. This includes the Discretionary Assistance Fund, which is aimed specifically at people who have:

  • lost their job
  • had a flood or fire in your home
  • applied for benefits and waiting for your first payment
  • been experiencing financial hardship.

Travelling to and around Wales

Travel across Wales as well as across the border with England is currently advised against for all but essential business while Wales is under Alert Level 4 restrictions.

However, from Saturday 27 March, "Stay Local" restrictions have been lifted in Wales, meaning those residing in Wales can now travel internally.

    Where to find more information in Wales

    Updates from the Welsh Government

    The Welsh government has a regular briefings which are held around midday and can be viewed online at any time or live on the Welsh government’s twitter account @WelshGovernment

    Updates from Public Health Wales

    Public Health Wales has published the Welsh Government’s latest coronavirus guidance..

    Updates from NHS Wales

    Many routine screening appointments, including foot appointments and retinopathy (eye) screening, have been paused while NHS Wales focuses all its resources on fighting coronavirus. So it is important to be extra careful in taking care of yourself at home, be aware of any new symptoms and contact your healthcare team if you have any concerns.

    Looking after yourself

    We have lots of information to help you look after your yourself in our guide to diabetes. If you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, you're not alone. We've got lots of guidance on how to cope with certain emotions and how things like stress can affect your blood sugar levels. Our Learning Zone will help you get to grips with diabetes, both physically and mentally.

    And whether you'd prefer to chat to others on our online forum or give one of our helpline team a call, we're here to support you. You can always contact us directly here in Wales too.

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