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Disruption to diabetes care during Covid threatens thousands, charity warns

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Thousands of lives are being put at risk due to delays and disruption in diabetes care, according to a damning report that warns patients have been “pushed to the back of the queue” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are 4.9 million people living with diabetes in the UK, and almost half had difficulties managing their condition last year, according to a survey of 10,000 patients by the charity Diabetes UK.

More than 60% of them attributed this partly to a lack of access to healthcare, which can prevent serious illness and early mortality from the cardiovascular complications of diabetes, rising to 71% in the most deprived areas of the country.

One in three had no contact with healthcare professionals about their diabetes in 2021, while one in six have still not had contact since before the pandemic, the report by the charity said. 

Diabetes UK said that while ministers have focused on tackling the elective surgery backlog, diabetes patients have lost out as a result, and there is now an urgent need to get services back on track before lives are “needlessly lost”.

Chris Askew, the chief executive of Diabetes UK, called for a national diabetes recovery plan. “Diabetes is serious and living with it can be relentless,” he said. “If people with diabetes cannot receive the care they need, they can risk devastating, life-altering complications and, sadly, early death.

“We know the NHS has worked tirelessly to keep us safe throughout the pandemic, but the impacts on care for people living with diabetes have been vast. While the UK government has been focused on cutting waiting lists for operations and other planned care, people with diabetes have been pushed to the back of the queue.”

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Source: The Guardian, 20 April 2022

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