One in four coronavirus patients who died in England's hospitals had diabetes

A quarter of Covid-19 patients who have died in hospitals in England had diabetes, according to figures released by the health service.

Of the 22,332 patients who died since March 31, when pre-existing conditions began to be reported, some 5,873 (26%) of patients had diabetes, while 4,048 (18%) had dementia, NHS England has said.

Some 3,254 (15%) were reported to have chronic pulmonary disease, while 1,549 patients had asthma.

NHS England said the accuracy of the data is reliant on the availability and transfer of information by healthcare providers, and patients may have had more than one pre-existing condition.

NHS England has published a breakdown of deaths by pre-existing conditions for the first time. Credit: PA

The figures show that since March 24, of those patients who died in hospital in England and who had tested positive for Covid-19, one in 25 (4%) had received treatment for a mental health condition while one in 50 (2%) had a learning disability or autism.

It is the first time NHS England has published a breakdown of deaths by pre-existing conditions.

Reacting to figures, Bridget Turner, director of policy at Diabetes UK, urged the government to act in order to establish a better understanding of the "detail behind this figure".

“The fact that more than a quarter of people who have died with Covid-19 have diabetes underlines the urgent need to ensure better protection and extra support is available to those in the clinically vulnerable groups," Ms Turner said.

Diabetes support groups have called for urgent action into why people with diabetes are affected so badly. Credit: PA

“We also need urgent action from government to understand the detail behind this figure, including diabetes type, age, ethnicity, medical history and comorbidities [one or more conditions] of those who have sadly died, so that we can know how to keep all people with diabetes safe.

“Government must ensure urgently that employers take all the necessary measures to keep employees with diabetes safe, if they are expected to attend work outside the home as restrictions are eased.

"This includes ensuring the guidance for employers is clear, consistent, and focused on the safety of employees above all else.”

She urged people living with diabetes "attend appointments as normal either online or in person at Covid-19 protected sites and, most importantly, should continue to have access to their local clinical team if they have concerns".

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