A new support service has been launched for people with diabetes in Northern Ireland who have concerns about coronavirus.
There are over 100,000 people living with diabetes across Northern Ireland and are at an increased risk of severe illness from the virus.
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 by phoning 028 9536 0600 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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, said: “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.”
Tina McCrossan, National Director of Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, also welcomed the new service.
“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.”
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