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Online diabetes advice favoured over GP consultation says survey

By Editor
12th June 2018

One in three people turn to the internet for diabetes advice instead of talking to their GP, according to a new poll.

The poll of more than 2,000 UK adults, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Diabetes UK, also showed that less than a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents said they would feel comfortable speaking to an employer about health concerns.

While three quarters of people (75 per cent) said they would feel comfortable talking about a friend or loved one’s health condition, only 65 per cent said they’d feel comfortable talking to friends or loved ones about their own health.

The theme for Diabetes Week 2018 is Talk About Diabetes, and Diabetes UK is taking the opportunity to help people with diabetes have honest, open conversations about their condition with healthcare professionals, friends and family.

An earlier survey of more than 8,000 people living with or affected by diabetes carried out by the charity showed that greater support for emotional and psychological health; better access to healthcare professionals who understand diabetes; and more support and understanding at work and school were priorities for those affected by the condition.

The charity has developed tips to help healthcare professionals sensitively approach conversations with their patients living with diabetes, as well as to help the public start a conversation with someone they know who has the condition.

These include:

  • Some things are hard to talk about and that’s fine. Just be frank and use clear, simple language. It’ll help both you and your patient feel more relaxed and comfortable.
  • Sometimes there’s a lot to talk about in an appointment, and you might need more time. You could suggest booking a double appointment next time and highlight other ways to get in touch, such as email. Don’t forget about our helpline that’s there to offer support as well.
  • Your patient is more than just a number. By understanding their day-to-day lives you can help them manage their diabetes better. A simple question about their favourite hobby or weekend plans can often build rapport and make a huge difference.

Diabetes UK’s Dan Howarth said: “Talking about diabetes can be hard. But for someone living with the condition, or caring for someone who does, it can mean getting the right treatment, ensuring your rights are protected at work, or making sure your child gets the best care at school. That’s why being able to talk about diabetes, and having people to talk to about the condition, is so important.

“This diabetes week we want to help people live better with diabetes, by giving them tools and tips to start tricky conversations, and get the support they really need.

“Finding information online about diabetes can be tricky, too, and risky if you don’t know where to start. We’d recommend using the Diabetes UK website, or our helpline, if you want to be signposted to expert advice about living with or managing any aspect of diabetes.” is a hugely popular online forum where thousands of people with diabetes discuss their condition and exchange tips and advice.


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