The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diabetes inpatient specialist nurses in the UK: an online survey and FOI request

Irene Fosuhemaa Bossman, Erwin Castro, Esther Walden, Diabetes Inpatient Specialist Nurses (DISN) UK Group

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This study aimed to explore the impact of COVID-19 and associated redeployment on diabetes inpatient specialist nurses (DISNs) and the wellbeing support offered to them during the pandemic in the UK. The DISN UK Group, in conjunction with Diabetes UK, sent out a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request to 229 NHS Trusts and an online survey to UK DISNs to understand the impact of the pandemic on diabetes inpatient services and specialist nurses during both the first and the second COVID-19 waves. Forty-one NHS Trusts responded to the FOI request and 24 DISNs participated in the online survey. The online survey reported that 50% of inpatient team members were reduced and disbanded to work on the wards during the first wave of COVID-19 (March–May 2020), compared with 23% in the second wave (December 2020 to May 2021). In the FOI request analysis, 36 out of 41 Trusts reported having dedicated DISN(s). Half of the Trusts with dedicated DISNs redeployed their staff during the first wave of COVID-19 compared with 30% of Trusts during the second wave. Almost all Trusts had provisions for staff to access mental health and wellbeing services. These findings suggest that careful planning is needed to preserve diabetes inpatient nurses’ services to support and manage people with diabetes and the convoluted pathology of COVID-19-related diabetes during future waves of COVID-19. Provisions should be made for staff including access to and uptake of mental health and wellbeing services to deal with work-related stress.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Diabetes Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2021


  • Coronavirus
  • diabetes inpatient specialist nurses
  • inpatient care
  • workforce issues


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