Covid 19/Coronavirus Information. Letter from Clare Howarth, Head of the North of England at Diabetes UK

To all our Diabetes UK supporters,

I know many of you will have read the recent news reports, based on data from NHS England, which show that 26% of those who have died from coronavirus in England also had diabetes. I know this statistic is worrying and, at this stage, it is vitally important to understand more about the detail that sits behind the numbers.

Here at Diabetes UK, we are working incredibly hard to get you answers to the questions you have been asking.

We have pulled together what we know about the data, what the emerging evidence is telling us, and what government needs to do to make sure their policies are reflective of the needs of people with diabetes. You can read all about it here:

This is a complex, layered issue and our guidance is likely to change as we learn more. As things stand, this is our advice around some of the key points you have been raising:

Should people with diabetes now be shielded?
• Shielding advice is very restrictive and so it’s important to balance this advice against the level of risk
• The psychological implications of shielding (if you don’t need to) could be very great, and may have an impact on blood glucose control (not getting out at all, stress, etc).
• It is important to remember that everyone with diabetes is different, so a blanket ask of shielding without evidence isn’t appropriate
• We need to know much more about the potential risks for people with diabetes so that advice can be tailored
• But we are also calling for more action so that people with diabetes are protected and supported.

How should people with diabetes be protected and supported?
Right now we are calling on the government to take action to ensure people with diabetes, and their families, remain protected and supported. I will bring you more information on this when we have it.

Should I still be going to my medical appointments?
If you have a scheduled hospital or other medical appointment during this period, talk to your GP or specialist to ensure you continue to receive the care you need and determine which of these appointments are absolutely essential. Your hospital may need to cancel or postpone some clinics and appointments. You should contact your hospital or clinic to confirm appointments.

Should I still be going to work?
People with diabetes should not be put in a situation that puts them at risk at work and if at all possible they should be supported to work at home. Employers must put measures in place to keep people with diabetes safe. If you have concerns that your employer is not doing this you should raise these with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or talk to your union representative if you have one. You can also complete our survey:

I know this continues to be a worrying time and I want you to know we are here for you. We will continue to do all we can to press for the best possible advice, information and support to keep people with diabetes safe.

If you feel worried or have any questions, please call our helpline on 0345 123 2399 from Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, or email us at, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Take care,

Clare Howarth
Head of the North of England at Diabetes UK