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A top NHS England diabetes expert is urging people to avoid face-to-face clinical appointments amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with Medscape, Professor Partha Kar, National Specialty Advisor for Diabetes, said: “Regarding services, we are pushing for all face-to-face appointments to go virtual.”

For people with diabetes Professor Kar has reiterated the advice, stating that they should be social distancing, which means avoiding crowds and maintaining a safe physical distance from others when out.

Professor Kar helped draft a new clinical guide for NHS healthcare professionals to adhere to while coronavirus continues to grip the nation.

Throughout the document there is a strong emphasis on people with diabetes using virtual clinics and consulting with their doctors remotely using other means of communication.

However, Professor Kar and his team have identified some exceptions to the rule, which include pregnant women with diabetes.

Also a consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Professor Kar said: “There are major health outcomes — related to mother and baby — linked to diabetes control in [pregnant] patients. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) says the same in a message to these patients: ‘If you’re pregnant with diabetes please keep your appointment’.”

People with diabetic foot disease are also being urged to continue seeing their doctors in person as Professor Kar emphasised their condition could significantly deteriorate.

He said: “If these patents are ignored or miss appointments they might end up with amputations or infections and this places further pressure on the funder.

“These are the two key clinic scenarios that we want to see maintained with whatever staff you have. Everything else goes virtual.”

Steps are currently being taken to ensure all community diabetes teams are available to help hospitals once more people are admitted with the virus.

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