Not enough is being done to keep people with long-term conditions safe, according to a leading charity, which highlighted that people with diabetes make up 26% of UK coronavirus deaths.
Last week, the government announced plans to ease shielding measures, and to revise social distancing rules in England in an attempt to get the UK reopened following lockdown.
But the charity said it was concerned that steps to ease lockdown and reopen the UK risked leaving millions of people with diabetes “in the dark about how best to keep themselves safe”.
Backed by an open letter signed by more than 12,000 people living with and affected by diabetes, it is calling on the UK government to urgently respond to its concerns.
It wants the development of the national Covid-19 risk prediction tool to be fast-tracked, making it possible to assess a person’s individual risk based on different factors as soon as possible.
It is also calling for a “robust process” to be put in place to ensure that the advice a person is offered from the use of the tool will inform decisions about their own safety in their workplace.
Until that occurs, people who are vulnerable to serious harm, including those with diabetes, should have a right to stay working at home at this time, according to the charity.
In addition. there must be “robust” enforcement of guidance on employment protections for clinically vulnerable people and workplace Covid-19 risk assessments, said Diabetes UK.
Diabetes UK also stated that there must be “effective and proactive” communication of these measures so that people with diabetes know their rights.
It noted it had already written to the ministers three months ago but was yet to receive a response to acknowledge or confirm action would be taken to make the employment guidance more robust.
However, it said its position was backed up by the views of the public, based on a survey of over 2,000 people carried out in June.
It found 64% of respondents agreed that all UK governments needed to be doing more to ensure people with underlying health conditions were kept safe at work, rising to 75% among those over 55.
Chris Askew, chief executive at Diabetes UK, said: “The message from people with diabetes is clear; we want to go about our lives, but we’re deeply worried about our health as lockdown eases.
“The needs of people with diabetes are not being properly considered. People with long term conditions cannot, and should never have been the government’s blind spot. Lives are at stake.”
He added: “We reiterate our calls, which we have been doing for weeks, to ensure that people with diabetes are not forgotten, and that additional measures and safeguards are in place.” (Source: Nursing Times)
Warning over risk to diabetes patients amid imminent lockdown easing
Guidance for clinically vulnerable people, and employers, remains unclear, warned Diabetes UK, which is calling for better risk assessment before those with diabetes return to workplaces.