Lives are being put at risk because people with diabetes are not getting their free flu vaccine, a charity has warned.

Diabetes UK says nearly a third of people under 65 with the condition are not taking advantage of the free flu vaccine despite being almost six times more likely to die from flu than others in their age group.

The charity is urging everyone with diabetes to take up the offer of a free flu jab, which is currently available to all those over 65 and other groups including people with diabetes. Uptake of the flu vaccine is particularly poor in children with diabetes.

Pav Kalsi, clinical adviser at Diabetes UK, said: "People with diabetes are a high-risk group when it comes to getting flu, so it is important they are vaccinated as soon as possible this winter and understand the importance of being protected.

"Having flu can really upset diabetes control and cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate. This can leave people with diabetes open to many serious health problems, including complications of flu such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

"If you have diabetes and haven't already been invited for a free flu jab, contact your GP surgery to find out when they are holding clinics."