So, on a day-to-day basis there are things about being a diabetic that tick me off. Yes, I know the list can be long, but at the top of mine is stabbing myself several times a day to draw blood and then test. So yes, over the years I have gotten used to it, I guess, but it’s still a pain in more ways than one.
The pain of drawing blood and the time especially before meals because if you’re like me no matter how long you have had the condition your food still lands on the table and you think b****cks where’s the blood kit. You get the idea (for those not a diabetic reading this, most of us have one kit and it goes everywhere with us, work, home, social occasions, in pockets, bags, holdalls etc).
You do your test and eventually eat anywhere from 5 mins after everyone else. Then comes the next irritation, test strips. Now to the majority of us the only way to know how your control is doing is to test, use a test strip. If you want really tight control you test lots and herby come the second irritation, the supply of test strips. Available on the NHS from your GP, most diabetics will be issued with 2 or if you are lucky 3 tubs of strips per month (75 strips) Now if you want uber tight control you test lots in my case 6 – 8 times a day so say 6 x 7 = 42 just short of 2 pots a week. “Over testing” I hear you screaming, and I’d agree however, my Diabetic Specialist Nurse (DSN) fails to agree. Why? Because my average HBa1C is 43 – 46. After lots of education I dose adjust pre-load extend basal etc etc ensuring I make tweaks to keep my control as tight as possible.
So, I get shouted at by meds management yet praised by the DSN, I think they call that a no win. Hence, why is this you may ask? Well, GP surgeries are paid for helping keep me tightly controlled BUT the clinical commissioning group (CCG) pay the prescription bill, so, yes, although they are both NHS bodies they have their own agenda.
This brings me to a far bigger example of this. Some time ago Diabetes UK started a campaign to get Flash Glucose Monitoring available to all on prescription (up until now you’ve got to buy it) and they won. It is now according to NHS England available to all on prescription. But, and there is a HUGE BUT, you see NHS England may say it is but your local CCG says it’s not (two side of the same organisation working against you? Sound familiar?). Now the sceptic in me says the government did this so they can say “it is available. It’s not our fault your local NHS isn’t providing it”. Well, they’re not because they don’t have the money to. No CCG is going to say publicly to a mother of a young child you’ve got to make your child bleed to test their bloods because we don’t have the money to fund it for everyone. What you will be told is that they are looking at a protocol, a requirement to qualify for it etc.
Ok, I’m a Diabetic of 50 years but I see Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) cases going into A&E and to several I know they simply didn’t test. Kids don’t want to be different, pulling a kit out, pricking your finger, drawing blood and waiting 5 seconds for the result makes you VERY different. Whereas passing a mobile over your arm and taking a sneaky peak of the screen while legging it from the club to the taxi is hardly noticeable. What’s the answer? No idea. All I know is it’s irritated me for a while and I’m sure it will continue to until people who manage purse string in very high places see the bigger picture……..that one quick flash test saved a DKA admission at about £1000 to £1200 ish. Makes you think doesn’t it.
Andy Lavender Chairman Diabetes UK Chester Tel:07702973360