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Calls for diabetes care recovery plan

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The pandemic severely impacted diabetes care The pandemic severely impacted diabetes care

People living with diabetes have been ‘pushed to the back of the queue’ during the coronavirus pandemic and a national recovery plan is needed to get vital services back on track, Diabetes UK has said.

According to a new report by the charity, Recovering Diabetes Care: Preventing the Mounting Crisis, which surveyed over 10,000 people, almost half (47%) of patients have experienced difficulties managing their condition in 2021, with 63% attributing this in part to not having sufficient access to their healthcare team, rising to 71% in the most deprived areas of the country. One in six reported no contact whatsoever about their diabetes with their healthcare team since before the pandemic.

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‘Diabetes is serious and living with it can be relentless. If people with diabetes cannot receive the care they need, they can risk devastating, life-altering complications and, sadly, early death,’ said Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.

‘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.’

These findings are backed up by NHS figures which report that just 36% of people with diabetes in England received all their recommended care checks in 2020/21, compared with 57% in 2019-20. Diabetes UK’s survey also revealed stark health inequalities. It showed that people from the most deprived areas of the country were more likely to have experienced difficulties managing their diabetes, with 56% of people in the most deprived areas saying they had experienced problems compared to 44% in the least deprived.

‘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,’ added Mr Askew.

‘Urgent action is now required, which is why we’re calling on UK Government to implement a recovery plan for diabetes care. We need to get this essential, life-saving care back on track, or lives will be needlessly lost.’

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