Diabetes and your choice of job

What to tell your employer

Useful information

Diabetes and your choice of job

Diabetes may be misunderstood and feared by some employers. If you are the right person for the job in all other respects, it is important that you can show that having diabetes will not make a difference to your work. You need to have stable diabetes control and be able to adjust your diabetes treatment around your working day if necessary.

Diabetes UK believes that everyone should have an equal opportunity to apply for employment and each individual should be treated on his or her own merits.

If you are on diet alone or diet and tablets, most jobs are possible providing you do not have complications of diabetes.

The situation is different for people treated with insulin. If you are treated with insulin the occupations that you cannot enter at present are:

  • The police service
  • The fire and ambulance services
  • 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 or vehicles carrying general public (buses) (Diabetes.co.uk - Provides further information on 'Driving with Diabetes')
  • Some local authorities have a ban on cab or taxi licenses
  • Any job with the Post Office that involves driving
  • Working offshore – including catering on channel ferries or liners for example
  • Coal face work

In some of the above occupations, if you are already employed when you develop diabetes it is sometimes possible to continue. It is important to check with your employer if you are changing from tablets to insulin therapy.
You may need to plan your insulin injections to fit in with your job, especially if you work shifts. This is much easier if you are on a flexible injection regime and do regular blood tests. Your diabetes team can help you plan this.

back to top

What to tell your employer

  • On the application form there may be a health question; state your type of diabetes e.g. “Insulin dependant diabetes, well controlled” – this is now referred to as Type 1 Diabetes.
  • At interview, discuss your diabetes only in relation to the work you will be doing.
  • Emphasise the positive aspects of diabetes; looking after diabetes well, requires a responsible attitude and an awareness of time, both of which are useful at work!
  • If you do not mention your diabetes and it is discovered later, it may reflect on your honesty as an employee.
  • Tell your colleagues about your diabetes; this makes it easier for them to help you if necessary e.g. if you have a hypo.
  • Try to arrange your clinic appointments to fit your job; the diabetes team should be able to help you with this.
  • Don't expect concessions or special treatment at work, but do take sensible steps to prevent your diabetes from creating problems for you or anyone else.

back to top

Useful information

If problems arise, discuss with your manager, the Occupational Health staff or your Diabetes Team.
Further confidential advice can be obtained from the Diabetes UK Careline,

By telephone:

020 7424 1030 (voice) or 020 7424 1031 (text)

Careline counsellors are available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Interpreting service:

Careline callers can also access an interpreting service, which offers a bank of interpreters in up to 100 different languages. Callers simply telephone Careline and leave their name and telephone number, identifying what language they wish to converse in. Within the space of just a few minutes, a three-way telephone link with the caller, a Careline counsellor and an appropriate interpreter will be set up.

By post:

Careline Services
Diabetes UK
10 Parkway
Please allow 21 days for a response.

By email: careline@diabetes.org.uk

Please allow 10 working days for Careline to respond to your enquiry.

Further contacts:

Diabetes UK – Scottish Branch
Savoy House
140 Sauchiehall Street
G2 3dh
0141 332 2700

SA99 1TU
0870 2400009

back to top

Quick Links

Diabetes UK


Web Page Author:

Sr May Lavelle

(Community Diabetes Nurse Specialist)

Last Revised:

July 2006