Young people

Parents of diabetic children forced to stop work

Parents of diabetes children forced to stop work Schools lack training

Parents of children with diabetes have to cut their work hours or give up work altogether, as school staff are often unable to administer life-saving insulin injections, according to a new report.

Almost half of primary school pupils with Type 1 diabetes, and a third of those at secondary school told Diabetes UK a parent had given up work or cut back on their working hours to help manage the condition.

A total of 661 children and young people with Type 1 diabetes were surveyed by Diabetes UK for the report, called State of diabetes care in the UK 2009.

In the report, two thirds of the primary school pupils and four fifths of secondary school students said they thought school staff do not have enough training in dealing with diabetes.

With Type 1 diabetes, the body is unable to produce insulin. People with the condition need regular insulin injections at set times of the day.

People with diabetes are also at risk of hypoglycaemia or diabetic ketoacidosis caused by low or high blood glucose levels respectively. Both conditions can lead to unconsciousness and hospitalisation.

If it is not managed effectively, Type 1 diabetes can also lead to a greater risk of long term complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

Diabetes UK Chief Executive, Douglas Smallwood, said: "It is completely unacceptable that parents of children with diabetes are forced to forfeit their careers and risk financial hardship because of medical policy failings in schools.

"It is vital pupils have the correct support to control their condition within the school setting if they are to protect their short and long-term health.

The charity is calling on the new Government to ensure children with diabetes are recognised as a vulnerable group and full support is provided by fully-trained staff.

An estimated 2,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the UK each year and 20,000 children under the age of 15 have the condition.

This article was published on Mon 17 May 2010

Image © Ana Blazic -

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