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Covid and Beyond

JDRF’s Covid and Beyond report reveals the impact of the Covid pandemic upon lives already affected by type 1 diabetes.

A woman with type 1 diabetes who is checking her blood glucose levels

JDRF’s Covid and Beyond report reveals the impact of the Covid pandemic upon lives already affected by type 1 diabetes.

We commissioned social research to understand the varying pandemic experiences of different people affected by type 1 diabetes in the UK.

The experiences shared for the report depict an enormous withdrawal of NHS services during the pandemic, leading to starkly unequal access to type 1 diabetes care.

Our social research

The scale of our quantitative research involving more than 1,000 people, combined with the scope of our qualitative research with 40 individuals representing groups hardest hit by Covid, allowed us to contrast varying experiences of the pandemic.

It reveals similarities and differences between adults and children with type 1 diabetes in terms of the impact on their healthcare; and compares the experience of people with type 1 to the experience of people with other health conditions. It also reveals variations in the experiences of people who have lived with the condition for different lengths of time.

Our findings and recommendations

The findings of our Covid and Beyond report, launched in October 2021, are supported by recommendations that point the way for the NHS to build back an integrated type 1 diabetes service that optimises quality of care and support.

Findings include:

  • Among parents of children with type 1 diabetes, 45 per cent could not access their normal level of healthcare support during the pandemic. This rose to 63 per cent for adults living with the condition, significantly higher than people who have other health conditions
  • Many living with type 1 diabetes said that the Covid crisis has taken a toll on their physical and mental health
  • But those given type 1 diabetes technology choices before the pandemic felt better able to manage their condition during the crisis
  • Despite the major disruption to type 1 diabetes healthcare, a majority of adults (58%) with the condition felt the NHS had done its best to support them during the pandemic

JDRF’s recommendations are:

  1. Increased access to type 1 technology is essential
  2. A choice of virtual, telephone and face to face appointments to provide people with type 1 diabetes different ways to communicate with their healthcare professionals
  3. Improved communication from the NHS, which needs to be more proactive when care is disrupted
  4. People with type 1 diabetes must be at the heart of service design and delivery

Download a copy of Covid and Beyond

JDRF’s Covid and Beyond research and report is supported by the generosity of the Steve Morgan Foundation, which secured a Community Match grant for the charity from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.