Theresa May has made history as the first British Prime Minister that we know of with a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. While May has been very open about her condition, in some areas of the media her health has been put under scrutiny and even caused some to question her suitability for the job.
And, on the other side of the pond more recently, Donald Trump openly used Hilary Clinton’s episode of ill health when she was diagnosed with pneumonia as ground for political point scoring.
So, is it fair that people’s health should affect the way in which they are viewed in the workplace?
In the case of May, Diabetes UK has openly said that any such suggestions are “completely untrue and unacceptable”. May herself is very pragmatic about living with Type 1 diabetes and sees her position as a way to be positive about living with a long term health condition. In an interview with Diabetes UK Balance magazine, Theresa said, “I would like the message to get across that it doesn’t change what you can do. The more people can see that people with diabetes can lead a normal life doing the sort of things that other people do, the easier it is for those who are diagnosed with it to deal with it.”
Over a quarter of the population in England (15.4 million people) has a long-term condition and of this number over 4 million people are currently living with diabetes. In addition, doctors acknowledge that there remain millions of people who are undiagnosed with chronic conditions and many who are at risk of developing diseases. In fact, it is estimated that 5 million people in the UK are at risk of developing diabetes according to a report published by Public Health England (PHE).
Adapting to the diagnosis of a long-term health condition or a change in an existing health problem can be daunting and frustrating, often meaning that patients need to take new medications, self-monitor their health (such as blood glucose monitoring) and make lifestyle changes such as dietary adjustments or stopping smoking. While there is a wealth of information available to these patients, often the choice is overwhelming and health care professionals such as GPs and specialist nurses do not have the time to provide detailed and personalised one-to-one support in an already overstretched NHS.
Although diabetes can be a serious condition, it can be managed effectively with good care and support. So, what options are there for people with diabetes who want to empower themselves and keep on top of their condition? A revolutionary subscription based service has just been launched to provide patients with long term health conditions access to an NHS trained nurse who delivers personalised clinical health coaching over the phone. MyClinicalCoach™ can help guide patient’s decisions about lifestyle, medication and other treatment options, and offer support by encouraging them to set and reach health goals and becoming an “expert friend”. In short, with their own personal health coach, patients feel better and more confident about their health, lead a more active and fuller life and require fewer emergency GP appointments and contacts with the NHS.
As Robin Hewings, Diabetes UK Head of Policy says, “Since her diagnosis, Theresa May has spoken very openly about living with Type 1 Diabetes, which has really helped to raise the profile of the condition. Her rise to Prime Minister is a great example of how having Type 1 diabetes doesn’t have to hold you back and that you can live life to the full and accomplish your ambitions.”
For more information, visit www.myclinicalcoach.com.