A new Diabetes helpline and email support service has been launched in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) by the Diabetes Network for NI.
There are over 100,000 people living with diabetes across Northern Ireland and are at an increased risk of severe illness from Coronavirus. The helpline and email support facility will provide additional clinical support and advice.
People living with diabetes with concerns about COVID-19 can contact the service through the following:
A region wide service is already provided through individual Health and Social Care Trusts’ diabetes teams from Monday to Friday. However, this additional new helpline service will run seven days a week including bank holidays from 9am until 3pm and operate for 12 weeks initially staffed by clinical specialists.
Dr Hamish Courtney, Consultant Diabetologist and Clinical Director for the Diabetes Network said: “People living with diabetes have been recognised as a vulnerable group in respect of COVID -19. We identified early that a service to support both people living with diabetes and staff providing vital additional clinical support and guidance was necessary.
“This service will support those that are not currently covered by Health and Social Care Trust services, patients in primary care as well as those being cared for by district and practice nurse colleagues and inpatient diabetes teams.”
Director of Commissioning at the Health and Social Care Board, Dr Miriam McCarthy, added: “Colleagues across Health and Social Care are facing unprecedented pressures. I continue to be amazed and impressed by the goodwill of all staff who continue to go above and beyond to treat and support our population.
“I thank each and every colleague who has supported us to set up this service in a matter of days. It will be a very positive contribution to the COVID-19 response across Health and Social Care.”
Delighted with the introduction of the service, Tina McCrossan, National Director of Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, and a key partner of the Network commented: “We welcome the introduction of this helpline as we know it will provide valuable and timely information to people who are feeling anxious at this time.
“We are confident that all the main concerns that people living with diabetes have, will be addressed through this helpline as we have consulted widely with people, including learning from all the calls which have been received to date by the Diabetes UK Helpline (0345 123 2399).
“We are delighted to be part of this initiative which will provide invaluable support to people living with diabetes and those that care for them.”