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Guide to Diabetes


Diabetes does not have to make a difference to your working life or your career. However what you will need to do is control your diabetes well and be able to adjust your treatment to fit your working life.


Telling your Employer

There is no legal requirement to tell your employer that you have diabetes but by doing so it will probably make it easier to arrange clinic appointments. Telling your workmates may help them understand why you need to stop for a few minutes and do a blood test or treat a hypo, for example. Sometimes people face discrimination at work because of their diabetes. (DUK)


How will my diabetes treatment affect my job choices?

If you are being treated by diet alone or diet and tablets, most occupations are possible, providing you do not have any diabetic complications. If you are treated with insulin, then you would NOT normally be accepted for the following occupations:

  • The Police Service
  • The Fire and Ambulance Service
  • The Armed Forces and Merchant Navy
  • The Prison Service
  • Train Driving
  • Airline Pilot, Air Traffic Control and Cabin Crew (on some airlines)
  • Driving large Goods Vehicles, Buses and Vans over 3.5 tons
  • Most Local Authorities have a Ban on Cab or Taxi Licences
  • Any Job with the Post Office that involves driving
  • Working Offshore- including Catering on Channel Ferries or Liners
  • Coal Face work

However if you developed diabetes during service in any of the above occupations it is sometimes possible to continue your service. See Diabetes UK


If you are treated with insulin?

Shift work in general and changing shift patterns in particular are made less difficult if you have a flexible insulin regime and do regular blood tests. Your diabetes Nurse can give you specialist advice.


What should I say about my Diabetes?

  • Mention your diabetes on your application form if there is a health question.
  • e.g.“Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes well controlled on insulin or diet and tablets” is enough
  • In interviews discuss your diabetes only in relation to the work you will be doing.
  • Employers are only interested in whether it will cause you to take time off sick or you may suddenly “black out”. 
  • Stress the positive side of diabetes whenever possible e.g.“People with Diabetes need to be aware of time, are used to routine, are encouraged to follow a healthy lifestyle and have a thorough medical every year. Looking after your diabetes requires a responsible attitude."
  • Be honest. If you don’t mention your diabetes and it is discovered later, your employer might become suspicious about the condition.
  • It may also cause questions to be asked about your honesty.
  • It is important to tell your colleagues about your diabetes so that they will understand if you start eating chocolate in a hurry or if you need any help.
  • Don’t expect special treatment at work but do take sensible steps to prevent your diabetes from creating problems for you or anyone else.
  • Ask your Diabetes Care Team for appointments out side your working hours.


Diabetes is covered by the Diasability Discrimination Act (1995) protecting you from being refused work or dismissed purley as a result of your diabetes except in the job roles described above. Talking to your employer and colleagues about your diabetes should prevent any problems resulting from ignorance or fear of the condition. Read more about the Disability Act (DUK). Try not to see diabetes as restricting your job prospects.