Laws banning diabetics from some jobs may be changed

Pilot, mining engineer… even railway ticket inspector are banned for sufferers

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Jobs that were previously closed to diabetics – like pilot, air cabin crew, firefighter, sailor and SNCF ticket inspector – could be opened up under new government plans.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine said the law had not kept up with healthcare, technological change or modern working practices and it was time it was recognised that diabetes was now a controllable condition.

France’s four million diabetics face a daily lifestyle dominated by sugar level checks and medication but it is much less onerous than previously and most have their conditions under complete control, allowing them to live otherwise normal lives – apart from at work.

Ms Touraine said the laws needed to change.

Although some restrictions have been lifted over time, such as the ban on diabetics becoming HGV drivers, there is still a 1957 law regulating mining engineers, which specifically bans diabetics.

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Conditions on a driving licence also limit it to five years for diabetics.

She said the government “is in favour of these laws changing and that the aptitude conditions for certain professions and jobs be rethought for diabetics and, depending on the case, for those suffering other conditions”.

Ms Touraine was answering calls from the Fédération Française des Diabétiques and the Aide aux Jeunes Diabétiques association for the laws to be rethought. The federation says that it is “a first step” but it awaits real change to “obsolete laws”.