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04 June 2023

News from Europe

Breaking taboos: diabetes at the workplace

iStock 000039292346SmallFinland counts around 20,000 people with type 1 diabetes on the job market, and the number is increasing. While people with type 1 diabetes have the required skills and abilities to be active actor in the workplace, their condition can cause acute and chronic health issues which can have an impact on their ability to work.

To promote the working abilities of people with type 1 diabetes, tackle discrimination at the workplace while creating a safe working environment for people living with this condition, the University of Eastern Finland joined forces with the diabetes clinic of the Kuopio University Hospital to carry out a study on type 1 diabetes at the workplace. The study was also supported by the Finnish Diabetes Association.

Conducted in two phases, the study targeted people with type 1 diabetes, their direct line manager or supervisors, representatives of the occupational healthcare unit and trade union bodies. These different stakeholders took part in a series of interviews and workshops.

Conclusions from the interviews and workshops stressed that the professional skills of people with type 1 diabetes should be promoted and valued, and that a person living with this condition was able to execute a physically demanding job. However, analysis also revealed that it is key to support people living with diabetes by creating an environment where they can monitor their condition and facilitate safer working conditions.

Researchers also drew a list of 14 good practices based on the outcomes of the workshops. Their aim is to help people with diabetes when entering the job market, raise awareness of diabetes and breaking taboos amongst employers, but also ensure optimal support and protection from healthcare teams and trade unions.

To read more about the study, click here.
For more information, you can also contact the lead researchers Pirjoirene Hakkarainen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or Vilma Hanninen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.