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Guide to Diabetes

Healthcare EntitlementsNHS logo


With regards to healthcare and your own health there are probably many aspects of medical entitlements you are unsure about, hopefully this will give you some answers.

Medical Entitlement

Having diabetes means that you are entitled to free medical prescriptions, including free eye tests with an optician. Annual Diabetes Eye check are performed by the Retinopathy Screening Service and you will be invited to have a photograph taken of your eyes via your GP practice.

Dental Care

There is NO financial help for dental care if you have diabetes. It is not free.

  • It is however important that you tell your dentist that you are diabetic. Regular dental check ups and early treatment are essential as dental infections may disturb your diabetes control. If like most people you find dental visits stressful remember:
  • If you need a general anaesthetic, this should be done in hospital.
  • A painful mouth (particularly poor fitting dentures) may prevent you eating properly. This can lead to low blood glucose levels.

Immunisations and Vaccines

All vaccination and immunisations that are normally recommended are completely safe for people with diabetes. However if you are travelling abroad, you should check with your doctor or travel agent if any additional vaccinations are necessary. (See section on Travelling).

It is strongly recommended that all people with diabetes receive the “Flu Jab” each year.

In the UK if you have diabetes and are over 65 years of age and have certain other medications you are entitled to a FREE “flu jab” (Contact your local GP for details.) Generally you should be invited for a “flu jab” during the winter months October and November each year.

Your diabetes control may be affected temporarily if you have a vaccination or immunisation so you should be more aware and test your blood glucose more often for a few days and adjust your medication as advised. Remember to reduce the dose back to your usual amount when you are feeling better and your blood glucose levels are back to normal.(4-7mmol/l) See our section on During Illness/ Feeling Unwell for advise.

Diabetes Healthcare

In addition you should know what to expect from your diabetes team knowing how you can best manage your diabetes can make a real difference in the quality of your life. It is important that you receive the health care that you need.

Basic health care should include:

  • A treatment plan and self care aims
  • Information on financial assistance
  • Regular checks on your blood glucose management and general health
  • Initial and continuing education for you and your family
  • Treatment for special problems and in an emergency

Support managing your diabetes


  • Having diabetes does not have to hinder your social life, just remember to tell your circle of friends that you have diabetes and make them aware of your condition and how they can help you if you have diabetic emergency.
  • There are many Education and Support Groups that are run by the Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology for patients.



  • Many people find that meeting others with diabetes can be an invaluable source of support.


  • Enjoy your life, go out, play sports, eat and drink sensibly but remember to control your diabetes.