Published on 15 April 2020

Reminder to people with diabetes not to put their health at risk by not taking safety precautions during COVID-19 pandemic.

Health leaders from across the UK have called on the public to continue to seek appropriate medical help during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) health crisis.

Although there is no official statement from the NHS on the risk of having the coronavirus (COVID-19) and living with diabetes it is recommended that the same safety precautions are observed as when sick.

The advice to the public is that people (including those living with diabetes) should stay at home to protect lives and reduce the pressure on the NHS.

However, health leaders are reminding some of those who need medical assistance to make sure they continue to seek the support they require and avoid putting their own health at risk.

Joint message from medical leaders across the UK, issued by the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges:
  • You should continue to seek NHS help through your GP, NHS111, 999 or A&E if you or your family become acutely unwell and believe that you may be suffering from a serious or life-threatening condition.
  • You should continue with ongoing treatments for all your medical conditions and attend any hospital or GP appointments that are requested. Routine care is being carried out, where possible, through phone calls or video links so you will not be asked to attend unless absolutely necessary.
  • Hospitals are safer than your own home if you need emergency care. The reorganisation of services includes protecting patients who are being seen for conditions other than COVID-19.
Group of nurses.

Picture: A group of healthcare professionals. 

Professor Jackie Taylor, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, said: “It is right that the COVID-19 pandemic is at the forefront of all of our thoughts right now. At the same time, the public must understand that many of us will continue to need medical assistance for a range of other conditions that have nothing to do with this virus.

“My personal message for the public is that if you need medical attention, it’s really important that you get the support you require.  Overall, the risk of developing other serious or life-threatening conditions remains unchanged during the COVID-19 pandemic and people must be fully confident that they can and should seek medical assistance if they are worried about themselves or a relative.

“You can continue to get in touch with your GP or call the NHS 111, or NHS 24 in Scotland. All of these services are continuing to operate normally throughout this period.”

If you need medical help or have a query regarding the virus, the NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if you think you might have coronavirus, have been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days (see NHS coronavirus advice for travellers), or if you have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus.

Use the 111 coronavirus service here
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone. If there is a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate) for up to 14 days.

Professor Taylor added: “While the NHS has postponed many routine or non-urgent appointments in order to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic, this does not apply to urgent or emergency illnesses. What we’re concerned about is that our experience from previous epidemics tells us that there is a danger of increased harm and deaths from issues that are not related to COVID-19 simply because patients have delayed or not sought medical assistance  for other urgent or serious health problems.

“People are understandably anxious about visiting their GP’s Surgery or going to hospital because they have concerns about leaving their homes and the risk of catching COVID-19. However, not seeking help when it is really required may place your health, and even your life, at risk.

“During this pandemic, the NHS is still here for you. We are open for business and we are never too busy to look after patients with urgent and serious needs.”

Read the full statement from the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges
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