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As patient contacts fall, diabetes patients are urged to attend their appointments

A leading diabetes doctor is urging people with the condition to attend routine appointments – and for people with possible symptoms to get checked out as soon as possible.

In a short video recorded for Diabetes Week 2020, Dr Nithya Nanda emphasised the importance of keeping in touch with medical services. (Scroll down to view the video).

His message has added importance this year, with fewer people contacting health and care services because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Nanda is the Clinical Lead for Diabetes for Frimley Health and Care – the health and care system which plans and provides services to 800,000 people, from East Berkshire down to Farnham in Surrey.

He said: “I wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate the importance for people with diabetes to attend their routine appointments, or to speak to their GP or diabetes team about any concerns they may have.

“This message is fundamental in light of the current pandemic which has seen a reduction in the number of people accessing NHS services for a range of non covid-related conditions.

“It’s also important for us all to recognise the signs of diabetes, often referred to as the Four Ts, so that help can be sought much earlier on.”

The Four Ts are as follows:

  • Toilet – going to the toilet a lot?
  • Thirsty – unable to quench your thirst?
  • Tired – feeling more tired than usual?
  • Thinner – losing weight?

Dr Nanda added: “If you you’re experiencing any of these signs, then please do contact your GP or call NHS 111 or visit NHS 111 online.”

Dr Nanda’s message follows the national announcement earlier this week about three new online tools being made available on the NHS for people living with diabetes, to help manage their condition during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to recent findings, people with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19 but better management of the condition can help improve control and lead to better outcomes.

NHS investment in the technology means that patients will be offered advice on treatment and care, as well as training to adopt healthy behaviours on diet and exercise.

The remote support will complement patients’ appointments, many of which have been going ahead throughout the pandemic, through video consultations or via telephone, and more recently in COVID protected areas.

People living with Type 1 diabetes can access the following technology from today:

  • Digibete: Children and young people with Type 1 diabetes and their families will be able to use the DigiBete App and website for a wide range of awareness, education, training and support resources.
  • MyType1Diabetes: Adults with Type 1 diabetes can access the service directly by visiting myType1diabetes.nhs.uk, it includes videos and eLearning courses, to help people understand more about their Type 1 diabetes and increase their confidence in how to manage it.

People with Type 2 will be able to access the following from later this year:

  • Healthy Living for people with Type 2 diabetes: The platform provides users with the skills and knowledge to manage their Type 2 diabetes effectively, including advice on emotional and mental wellbeing, and helps users adopt and maintain healthy behaviours around diet and exercise.
  • Online appointments, routine discussions with GPs and a dedicated helpline for those treated with insulin are among a range of measures that the NHS has already adopted so that diabetes care can go ahead as normal. The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is also being delivered remotely using platforms such as Microsoft Teams to continue to help those at risk of Type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk.

Professor Partha Kar, national specialty advisor on diabetes for NHS England and Improvement said: “Living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes is a daily challenge for millions of people and knowing they are more at risk if they are infected with coronavirus will be worrying, but the NHS has taken action to help people and keep them safe, including the roll out of these helpful apps.

“Access to trusted information and support is key to helping people manage their diabetes and we are delighted to support these tools which will hopefully empower people to look after their own condition and reduce their risk.”

Frimley Health and Care