Sian Fisher, 27 from Ammanford in Carmarthenshire who has type 1 diabetes noticed a big difference in her care since Coronavirus (covid-19) hit Britain in Spring 2020.
The primary school teacher said: “I understand that the NHS is busy and staff are doing their best, but when you live with a long-term condition like diabetes it’s important to have face to face support. That has changed. I haven’t seen my doctor for almost two years. I only had a very short telephone call with a consultant. It’s very hard to get through to services, but I was lucky to still have an annual check for eyes and feet.”
During lockdowns, Sian spent a lot of time going for runs with her father and keeping fit. On New Year’s Eve 2020, days after getting engaged, Sian had coronavirus and struggled with erratic blood sugars for months: “It is now settling, but since being infected, I needed advice. Having had the vaccines now, I feel more protected. I think less attention is being paid to diabetes and that checks are not done in the same way.”
Sian was diagnosed when she was three years old and growing up remembers how difficult it was. She now wears a Freestyle Libre, a device to monitor glucose levels day and night. “It has been life-changing. When I was a child I felt I wasn’t allowed the same treats, sleepovers, going to friends’ parties and the freedom from worrying about my diabetes all the time. Now I feel I can adapt the insulin and keep healthy by counting carbs and opting for a balanced diet”.
Sian said: “As a teacher, I had to carry on with my duties during the pandemic, although having diabetes made me more vulnerable. My family has been very supportive but worried a lot. I think there should be more coronavirus testing and face to face support for people with diabetes to ensure that the condition is managed properly.”
Has your diabetes care also been affected? For many people living with diabetes in Wales, the support to manage their condition has been interrupted.
We want to hear your experiences of diabetes care during the pandemic, it will help us to understand how to make the case to ensure that diabetes is a priority for our healthcare system. Please fill in our survey.