Somerset CCG are working with local clinicians to ensure people with diabetes get the best advice and support through the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Bickerton is a Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology at Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and part of the wider team across Somerset working in this field. 

He said: “It is naturally a worrying time for everyone, and we know that people with diabetes have been told that they can be in a higher risk group.  So it is important that everyone has the right information.

Although recent reports in the press have sounded alarming, the risk of death from COVID-19 if you have diabetes in fact remains low. However, you can reduce the risk even further by maintaining social distancing; aiming for good blood sugar control and concentrating on weight management.

Patients should continue to access support, advice and treatment in the usual way via their GP, Community Diabetes Nurse or hospital clinics.  In Somerset there is also additional specific support available for people with diabetes via MyDiabetesMyWay, a website and app designed to help people manage their diabetes.”

Martin Draper lives in Edington and has had type 1 diabetes for 20 years.  He said: “The My Diabetes My Way app is extremely helpful.  It’s like a filing cabinet with all of my information and past results – this makes it so easy to monitor how my blood sugar levels have changed.  I used to have bits of paper and post-it notes all over the house!  The app has huge amounts of excellent information and it is written by experts and so completely reliable and trustworthy.   I would encourage everyone who has diabetes, whether they are newly diagnosed or quite experienced, to download the app.  It will make managing your condition much easier.”

The website and app contain an extensive information resource as well as eLearning packages that you can follow in your own time. These are proving particularly useful as the standard training for newly diagnosed patients has had to be suspended due to coronavirus. In addition, if you have a Somerset GP, the website and app allow you to access all your diabetes information including your blood results.

The My Diabetes My Way app is available at all app providers and online at https://somerset.mydiabetes.com/.  You can also access the specialist eLearning packages at https://somerset.mydiabetes.com/structured-education/elearning-courses.

Further support is also available from Diabetes UK who have some very good resources for patients on their website, including videos explaining the risks and how they can best be managed. Diabetes UK can be found at www.diabetes.org.uk/ 

Finally, there is also a national programme to help people at risk of diabetes avoid developing the condition.  This can be found at www.preventing-diabetes.co.uk  and gives advice on dieting, exercise and healthy lifestyle.  The programme is doubled in size over the next few years to treat around 200,000 people annually as part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s renewed focus on prevention.