ABCD position statement on risk stratification of adult patients with diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic

Dinesh Nagi, Emma Wilmot, Karissa Owen, Dipesh Patel, Lesley Mills, Gerry Rayman, Peter Winocour, Goher Ayman, Rohit Patel, Clare Hambling, Pratik Choudhary


At the time of submission of this manuscript, the COVID-19 pandemic had cost nearly 60,000 lives in the UK. This number currently stands at over 120,000 deaths. A high proportion (one third) of these lived with diabetes. The huge acute and emergency medicine effort to support people with COVID-19 has had a major knock-on impact on the delivery of routine clinical care, especially for long-term conditions like diabetes.

Challenges to the delivery of diabetes services during this period include a reduction in medical and nursing staff, limitations placed by social distancing on physical clinical space, and balancing virtual vs face-to-face care. There is a need to re-group and re-organise how we deliver routine out-patient adult diabetes services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We offer some suggestions for how patients can be stratified into red (urgent), amber (priority) and green (routine) follow up with suggestions of how often people should be seen. We also offer recommendation on how we can identify those at highest risk and try and minimise the long- term impact of COVID on diabetes care

During the COVID pandemic we have seen things happen in days that previously took years. The restart of diabetes services has triggered a more widespread use of virtual consultations and data management systems, but also offers an opportunity for more joined-up and cohesive working between primary and specialist care. While we do our best to keep our patients and colleagues safe, this pandemic is already proving to be a catalyst for change, accelerating the appropriate use of technology in diabetes care and implementing innovative solutions. To achieve this aspiration, further work – currently led by the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists in collaboration with Diabetes UK and the Primary Care Diabetes Society – to make recommendations on future proofing diabetes care in UK is in progress.

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