Type of care for diabetes

Find out what level of diabetes care you should expect from the NHS.

Your GP will talk to you about your options because your care needs depend on your diabetes diagnosis and factors like age plus your physical and mental health.

Diabetes care for your diagnosis

The treatment offered to people with type 1 diabetes will be different to the care given to people with type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes or prediabetes. So talking first to your GP or nurse to find out what care is right for you should always be the first step.

However, everyone with diabetes should get regular blood sugar level tests and checks for eyes, kidneys, legs and feet, which can all be affected by diabetes complications.

15 healthcare essentials for diabetes

Diabetes UK has put together a list of 15 things your diabetes care should cover, which includes the annual checks you should get plus more general care throughout the year:

  1. A yearly check of your blood glucose levels. You should have a HbA1c blood test to measure your overall blood glucose control.
  2. Get your blood pressure taken at least once a year.
  3. Have your blood fats (cholesterol) measured at least once a year.
  4. An annual eye screening for diabetic retinopathy.
  5. Legs and feet checked at least once a year and more if needed.
  6. Have your kidney functions monitored including at least two tests for your kidneys each year to check they are working well.
  7. Have your weight checked to see if it is affecting your diabetes.
  8. Get support to quit smoking because this makes diabetes worse.
  9. Have a say in your care. You get a yearly care plan covering your individual needs and you should have a say in what this covers.
  10. Attend an education course to help you understand and manage diabetes. 
  11. Receive paediatric care if you are a child or young person until you are 18.
  12. Receive high quality care if admitted to hospital.
  13. Get information and specialist care if planning or having a baby.
  14. See specialist diabetes healthcare professionals, like an ophthalmologist (eyes), podiatrist (feet) or dietician (food and diet).
  15. Get emotional and psychological support for managing diabetes.

Getting the checks you need, seeing the right healthcare professionals and understanding your diabetes are all vital.

If you aren't getting the right care, take this list to your diabetes healthcare team and raise the issue with them.