Diabetes Type 2

Managing diabetes at work and driving

Many people we talked to continued to work after being diagnosed with diabetes. Support from employers in being flexible about working hours and the Access to Work scheme in providing equipment helped several people to continue working.

Sometimes the type of work people did make it hard for them to keep working, especially if their job was physically demanding. People who had neuropathy (nerve damage) in their feet found it difficult to continue doing jobs which required walking long distances or standing for long periods of time. One man, who was a paramedic, said he took early retirement when he started taking insulin because he didn't want to be driving at high speed. A hairdresser found it hard to find time to eat properly and after developing neuropathy could no longer stand on her feet all day. Eating at the right time takes extra care and planning when working in a physically demanding job.

However desk-based jobs can also cause problems for people with diabetes. Some people whose eyes were affected said that they found reading difficult, particularly reading from a computer screen. One man said he had become more sensitive to fluorescent lights at work and he felt it created tensions amongst his colleagues that he needed to have the lights turned off.

Some people felt that there were times when they were less productive at work, either because of a rise in blood glucose levels or general fatigue.

A few people were concerned that they might have difficulty getting another job if they needed to. Although many people with diabetes would not consider themselves disabled, diabetes is listed in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) which protects people with disabilities from being treated differently to other employees. Advice about workplace rights are availble from the Equality Advisory Support Service.

Driving and diabetes type 2
You may need to tell DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency) about your diabetes, depending on how it’s treated and the licence you have.

If you drive a car or motorbike and your diabetes is treated by diet or tablets you don't have to do anything. If you have a bus, coach or lorry licence you must fill in form DIAB1 and send it to DVLA.

If your diabetes is treated by insulin all drivers by law must inform the DVLA. 

Last reviewed March 2016.

Last updated March 2016..


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