• Poll from Diabetes UK marks start of Diabetes Week 2018
  • Theme of this year’s activities is #talkaboutdiabetes


New online research from Diabetes UK, to mark the start of Diabetes Week 2018 (11 – 17 June), has revealed that nearly a third of people living in the south west (31 per cent) would seek advice online first over talking to a GP about a health concern.

The poll¹ of more than 2,000 adults, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Diabetes UK, also showed that only a fifth (21 per cent) of respondents in the south west said they would feel comfortable speaking to an employer about health concerns. This was fewer than the national average of 23 per cent. While four fifths of people in the south west (80 per cent) said they would feel comfortable talking about a friend or loved one’s health condition, only 68 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.

In light of these findings, Diabetes UK has produced a list of top tips to encourage people with diabetes to have conversations with their healthcare professional team they may have been avoiding.


Diabetes UK’s top tips for people with diabetes talking to healthcare professionals:

  • Diabetes is complicated and different for everyone. There’s no such thing as a silly question. So don’t be afraid to ask about whatever’s on your mind.
  • It’ll really help if you go to your appointment with some questions in mind. You could write them down or send them to your healthcare team beforehand.
  • This time is for you, so let your healthcare team know what you’d like to talk about from the start.
  • Sometimes you’ll have more to talk about and you might need more time. If you can, book a double appointment so you don’t have to rush.
  • There might be things you feel uncomfortable talking about. But your healthcare team is there to help, so be honest and make the most of their medical expertise.


Annika Palmer, Diabetes UK south west regional head:

“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.”

An earlier survey of more than 8,000 people² living with or affected by diabetes carried out by Diabetes UK 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.

To support this, the charity has also 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.


Diabetes UK’s Tips for Healthcare Professionals 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.


In order to get people talking this Diabetes Week, Diabetes UK is also asking people to share their own tips about having difficult conversations. Get involved and share your tips on the website or on social media using the hashtag #talkaboutdiabetes.

¹The survey was conducted by YouGov on behalf of Diabetes UK on 3 May-1 June 2018. Total sample size was 2,072 adults, including 220 in the south west. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).