Understanding a young adult diabetes service’s accessibility: have virtual appointments helped?
Diabetes mellitus is characterised by hyperglycaemia, requiring strict management regimens to avoid associated health complications. Diagnosis and/or management of diabetes during young adulthood can be particularly challenging, potentially contributing to significant psychological distress and struggles with management, culminating in poor physical and mental health outcomes. This service evaluation sought feedback from young adult patients (19–25 years old) on diabetes service accessibility and to understand the impact of offering virtual appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic. All young adult patients (n=101) were invited to complete an online questionnaire about their experience of service accessibility and offered the opportunity to discuss their feedback in a telephone interview. Data were collected from 15 patients. Analysis using content and thematic analyses revealed three main themes regarding service accessibility: practical barriers, psychological barriers, and patients’ relationship with the diabetes team. Recommendations are made for several service developments concerning appointment scheduling, appointment set-up, and developments around service provision more widely. Further research is needed to gain a wider range of feedback to inform future developments and should prioritise patient involvement to increase patient response rate.