A Swindon GP is urging other healthcare professionals to read a new guide that has been published to help navigate the often complex world of diabetes care and treat patients living with the disease sensitively.

The launch of Language Matters coincides with Diabetes Week and this year’s theme tackles the issue of difficult conversations – aiming to make it easier for people to have tricky or awkward discussions with medical professionals, friends or family.

Developed by NHS England in partnership with charities such as Diabetes UK, the new advice explains how the language used by healthcare professionals can have a profound impact on people living with the disease and those who care for them.

There is lots of evidence from around the world as to how language affects those with diabetes and the guide sets out a number of practical examples, based on research and supported by a simple set of principles.

It makes clear that good use of language, both verbal and written, has the power to lower anxiety, build confidence, educate and help people to improve self-care, while also reminding healthcare professionals that poor communication can stigmatise, upset, undermine self-care and have a detrimental impact on patient care.

Febin Basheer, a GP at Victoria Cross Surgery in Swindon, said: “The number of people suffering from diabetes continues to grow, which is why talking about it openly and honestly is so important.

“Yes, it can often be difficult to bring up the topic of living healthily with patients, but only by having these frank discussions can we get more people thinking about the impact their lifestyle is having on their overall wellbeing.”

Dr Partha Kar, Associate National Clinical Director, for diabetes at NHS England, said:

“Diabetes Week provides a timely opportunity for us to raise the issue of language used in the treatment and care of patients. How we interact with those living with diabetes is fundamental to the management of their condition.

"The tone and words used - all have a bearing on how they look after their diabetes.

“Language Matters provides useful advice on things such as alternatives to commonly used phrases which may cause offence to some, while also being a practical handbook for healthcare professionals that is designed to be used and referred to every day rather than just sit on a shelf.”