Scots with diabetes face workplace discrimination

10 April 2018, 06:40

Diabetes Week

One in seven Scots with diabetes have faced discrimination at work, a new survey suggests.

The research by Diabetes UK found that of those with the condition who were in employment, 52 out of 361 (14%) felt they had experienced discrimination because of it.

Of those from Scotland who responded to the charity's online Future of Diabetes survey, 227 out of 573 (40%) said living with diabetes had caused them difficulty at work.

The UK-wide online survey, which ran from June until August last year, also found 5% of the 402 respondents who answered the question had not told their employer they have the condition.

Respondents said employers could better support those with diabetes by providing time off for diabetes-related appointments and flexibility to take breaks to eat or test blood sugar.

Diabetes Scotland said the findings should trigger a wider conversation about managing long-term health conditions in the workplace.

National director Angela Mitchell said: "Hundreds of people across Scotland have spoken out about how a lack of understanding from their employers can make working with diabetes not just exhausting and stressful, but also potentially life-threatening.

"Diabetes is one of the largest health crises of our time affecting more than 290,000 people in Scotland.

"Missing essential health checks or not taking medication on time can lead to devastating complications, such as amputations, stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and even early death.

"Discrimination and difficulties can arise because employers lack knowledge about diabetes and do not understand its impact.

"We need to talk more about the condition and the many ways it affects people's lives in order to persuade workplaces to offer greater understanding and flexibility.

"Everyone deserves to work in an environment where they can ask for the support they need."