Research by charity Diabetes UK has revealed that one in six people living with diabetes feel they have experienced discrimination at work.
The condition means the body does not produce any (type 1) or enough (type 2) insulin – the hormone that helps convert glucose to energy – causing an imbalance of glucose in the blood. It can lead to life-changing complications, and even death, if not correctly managed.
People with diabetes may need to test their blood sugar level and inject insulin at specific times of the day, as well as take time off for hospital appointments.
A third (37 per cent) of those surveyed reported feeling a lack of support and understanding from their colleagues around the condition, and 7 per cent had not disclosed their diabetes to their employer at all.
Helen Dickens, assistant director of campaigns and mobilisation at Diabetes UK, says: “Diabetes is one of the largest health crises of our time, affecting more than 2.2 million people of working age in the UK. Missing essential health checks or not taking medication on time can lead to devastating complications, such as amputations, stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and even early death.
“Discrimination and difficulties come about because employers lack knowledge about diabetes and do not understand its impact. We need to talk more about the condition and the many ways it affects people’s lives to persuade places of work to offer greater understanding and flexibility. Everyone deserves to work in an environment where they can ask for the support they need.”