One fifth of COVID-19 hospital deaths in Scotland related to diabetes

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Almost a fifth of people who have died from COVID-19 in Scottish hospitals also had diabetes, new figures have suggested.

The numbers, which do not differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, show that up until May 24, 554 people who passed away from coronavirus had diabetes mentioned on their death certificate.

This means that almost 15 per cent of the 3,779 coronavirus deaths at that time were related to diabetes.

The data, obtained by the PA News agency from the National Records of Scotland, has prompted Diabetes Scotland to urge the government to reassess the current guidelines for people with the condition as lockdown measures are eased.

At the moment, people with diabetes do not feature on the list that has been put forward for shielding at home.

Angela Mitchell, national director of the organisation, said: “The recent statistics underline the urgent need to ensure people with diabetes are protected and supported, especially as lockdown measures are eased.

“There must be assurances that people with diabetes should not be put in a situation that puts them at risk at work.

“Employers must put measures in place to keep people with diabetes safe, either by supporting people to work at home or, where this is not possible, by putting people with diabetes on furlough or by putting measures in place to allow stringent social distancing for those key workers who absolutely must be at work.

“We need to make sure that the new government workplace guidelines work for people with diabetes.”

In addition, the figures show that 10 per cent of coronavirus related care home deaths had diabetes and 14 per cent of those who passed away at home from the killer virus were thought to have diabetes too.

A Scottish government spokesman said: “We recognise the challenges faced on a daily basis by people living with diabetes. Specific support programmes are in place for people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

“We keep all clinical guidance under review and continue to work with our advisors – including a specific diabetes speciality advisor. If anyone with diabetes has any concerns about their condition, they should contact their GP or their diabetes clinical team.

“They will be able to provide specific advice and support based on their individual circumstances.”

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