The type 1 diabetes charity JDRF is supporting fellow charity Diabetes UK’s recommendations to the government and the NHS on managing COVID-19 risks for people with diabetes, which are published today.
Diabetes UK is calling for people with type 1 diabetes (and other types) to be contacted by the NHS if they are over 70, or if they have another risk factor, to discuss how they can keep safe and well.
Other risk factors beyond older age include HbA1c, ethnicity, complications and body mass index (BMI).
The NHS recently published reports on increased mortality rates among certain groups of people with diabetes, which has helped to shape these recommendations. JDRF and Diabetes UK believe that people with diabetes are all different, with different personal and health needs, and that therefore there should not be a blanket approach to measures such as shielding.
It is recommended that “the assessment of risk from COVID-19 for someone with diabetes, and the support required, should be based on individual, clinical and social risk factors, and a collaborative decision making discussion”.
Diabetes UK’s position statement recommends that:
- The UK government, scientific advisors and the NHS should develop a standardised and consistent approach for healthcare teams to assess an individual’s risk from COVID-19.
- Clinical teams should identify and contact people with diabetes (all types) who are over 70, and adults with diabetes (all types) who have other clinical indicators for increased risk, to discuss their risk and the support they need to keep themselves safe.
- Government policies and guidance must be based on the clinical evidence and routinely reassessed so that people with diabetes are receiving the best possible advice and protection.
- There must be better provisions for those in the clinically vulnerable group, including people with diabetes (all types).
- People with diabetes (all types) must be able to access healthcare and support.
Karen Addington, UK Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “Greater clarity for people with type 1 diabetes will enable them to make decisions around work and other aspects of daily life. JDRF and Diabetes UK will help keep people informed, so they can keep safe. We advise anyone who has concerns about their condition to make use of the dedicated helpline for people with diabetes and NHS online services.”
Are you an individual with type 1 diabetes who is unsure whether your personal situation and health history makes you particularly at risk from COVID-19? In the first instance please contact your usual healthcare team who know your clinical history. If this is not possible, the Diabetes UK Helpline is providing extended support, in collaboration with the NHS, during the coronavirus pandemic. It provides free, immediate clinical advice for type 1 diabetes and other types of diabetes. It can be accessed on 0345 123 2399.
Diabetes UK’s position statement on COVID-19 risks and diabetes can be read here.
JDRF’s information page on coronavirus can be read here.