The latest figures from NHS England have revealed that approximately 26% of people who have died of COVID-19 in England had diabetes. As a result, Diabetes UK is calling for support for those with the condition and research into why this population is greatly affected by COVID-19.
The figures released by NHS England reflect data gathered between 31 March and 12 May and show that diabetes (type 1 and 2) was the most common condition amongst people who died as a result of COVID-19 in this time. Other common comorbidities were dementia, found in 18% of patients, and ischaemic heart disease, found in 10% of patients.
There are currently an estimated 4.8 million people living with diabetes in Britain, all of whom are at greater risk of death from COVID-19. Bridget Turner, Director of Policy at Diabetes UK, commented that the announcement of these figures ‘underlines the urgent need to ensure better protection and extra support is available to those in the clinically vulnerable groups’.
NHS England has already introduced online services, video consultations with specialists and a dedicated helpline for those living with diabetes, according to Professor Partha Kar, NHS England specialty advisor for diabetes. There are also a number of online resources available on the NHS England website, including guidance on delivery of diabetes care and patient management.
Ms Turner commented on the need for ‘urgent action’ on the part of the government to research and analyse these data, to ‘understand the detail’ and in light of the recent easing of lockdown procedures, also called for the Government to ‘ensure urgently’ that employers are ensuring the safety of their employees with diabetes if they are required to attend work outside of home.