The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diabetes services: planning for a global recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected certain groups, such as older people (ie, >65 years), minority ethnic populations, and people with specific chronic conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and some respiratory diseases. There is now evidence of not only direct but also indirect adverse effects of COVID-19 in people with diabetes. Recurrent lockdowns and public health measures throughout the pandemic have restricted access to routine diabetes care, limiting new diagnoses, and affecting self-management, routine follow-ups, and access to medications, as well as affecting lifestyle behaviours and emotional wellbeing globally. Pre-pandemic studies have shown that short-term delays in delivery of routine care, even by 12 months, are associated with adverse effects on risk factor control and worse microvascular, macrovascular, and mortality outcomes in people with diabetes. Disruptions within the short-to-medium term due to natural disasters also result in worse diabetes outcomes. However, the true magnitude of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on long-term outcomes and mortality in people with diabetes is still unclear. Disasters tend to exacerbate existing health disparities; as we recover ambulatory diabetes services in the aftermath of the pandemic, there is an opportunity to prioritise those with the greatest need, and to target resources and interventions aimed at improving outcomes and reducing inequality.
Author affiliationDiabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)