Head of Policy, Campaigns and Mobilisation, Diabetes UK
Over the decades, technology has rapidly evolved to become an integral part of our daily lives. Technology can transform the lives of some people living with diabetes, but many still struggle with access.
Forty years ago, blood sugar testing was done using a urine dipstick test that told you what your blood sugar had been a few hours ago. Today, Flash and continuous glucose monitors (CGM) not only tell you what your blood sugar is doing now, but what it was doing overnight and the direction of travel it is heading in.
An accurate and timely picture of blood sugar is so important for people with diabetes. The more detail they have, the better they can manage their condition. In fact, a recent Diabetes UK survey found that 67% of people who had used diabetes tech, like insulin pumps, Flash and CGM said they felt more confident managing thier diabetes as a result.
In fact, a recent Diabetes UK survey found that 67% of people who had used diabetes tech, like insulin pumps, Flash and CGM said they felt more confident managing their diabetes as a result.
Tackling the challenge of accessibility
However, there is a big problem with access. According to Diabetes UK research, more than half of people (51%) with diabetes, who have tried to access technology to support the self-management of their condition, say they have been refused access at some point over the last decade in England. This combined with the impact on services caused by the coronavirus pandemic has left people with diabetes feeling isolated without the healthcare they need.
We can’t stop a pandemic, but with the Government’s help we can improve access to diabetes technology. This would help mitigate the risk of people experiencing devastating complications such as heart attack, stroke, and eye and foot problems.
Location, affluence and ethnicity can all impact access to technology
In the UK, there is significant variation in access depending on where a person lives, their level of deprivation and their ethnicity – sometimes referred to as ‘postcode lotteries’. This often forces people to make the difficult decision to self-fund their technology.
Diabetes UK is urging the Government to take urgent action by signing a ‘Cheque for Tech’. By providing this vital funding, the Government can eliminate the postcode lottery and ensure that anybody with diabetes who would benefit from diabetes technology will be supported to do so.
This funding would save people with diabetes from distress that nobody should have to face. It could help reduce hospital admissions from preventable complications. It is vital that the Government gives people with diabetes the tools they need, today.