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Armed Forces: Diabetes

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force have policies in place to prevent discrimination against personnel with diabetes on the basis of their condition. (229438)

The armed forces' policies are intended to protect sufferers of diabetes from military circumstances which may adversely impact upon their condition and to ensure the effectiveness of the armed forces. For example, a diabetic individual deployed on operations may experience difficulties in monitoring blood or urinary glucose levels; accessing medication; taking regular meals; maintaining a regular sleep pattern; accessing shared-care diabetic clinics; and accessing specialist services such as ophthalmology or chiropody. Such circumstances would adversely impact upon their diabetic control, thus increasing their risk of micro and macrovascular complications. Furthermore, an uncontrolled diabetic may constitute a risk not only to themselves, but also to others in a military or operational context. The single services manage individuals who develop diabetes during their service careers, according to their specific operational requirements and each case will be considered on an individual basis.