A few weeks ago, it was announced that the Department of Health and Ageing and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee would be undertaking a review of products used in the management of diabetes. The review will address several different issues and the first stage will focus on the use of blood glucose monitoring and (the clinical outcomes) for people with type 2 diabetes not using insulin.
I don’t tick any of those boxes. I have type 1 diabetes and there is insulin infusing itself into my body 24 hours a day.
So why should I care? Because actually, it is about me. And it’s about you too if you live with any type of diabetes, or care about people living with a chronic health condition having choice about their care.
While I don’t have type 2 diabetes or have any idea about living with the condition, I do know that if I did I would want access to the best management available. And I would want to have some choice in that management.
I would want to be able to check my BGL and I would want to be able to do this as frequently (or infrequently) as I choose. I would not want to be told that I don’t get to have access to all available management tools because of the way my diabetes is treated.
The message this sends is that people with type 2 diabetes not using insulin are not living with a serious health condition when we know that is not true. It’s like being told that because I use an insulin pump I have type 1 diabetes ‘really bad’. No, I use an insulin pump because I made (and continue to make each and every day) a choice to manage my diabetes using the latest technology available to me in a manner that suits me.
Diabetes Australia–Vic Director of Membership, Michael Goldman, says the role of diabetes organisations in reviews such as this is to consider the opinions and needs of all people affected by diabetes.
“Whilst DA–Vic will be making a formal submission which identifies a strong evidence base for supporting blood glucose monitoring, we know that our case is strengthened by the consumer voice. Our role is to support people with diabetes and ensure that they have access to the best, most up-to-date management tools, and choice so they can individualise their care.”
I am the loudest of loud when it comes to demanding that the words ‘type 1’ or ‘type 2’ are squeezed in beforehand the word ‘diabetes’. I am all about making sure that all types of diabetes are represented accurately. But the thing is that sometimes we all need to band as one under the umbrella term ‘diabetes’. And sometimes we need to advocate for people living with a brand of diabetes that is not our own.
Also, it’s worth remembering that a later review will focus on insulin pump consumables. I know that I would hope that people not using this therapy still take part in the review process and write a submission. More people equals a louder voice.
So, here is what you can do. Write a submission about these proposed changes. Whilst the outcome may not impact you directly, this is for all people living with diabetes. As soon we allow decisions to be made about what types of treatment we can and can’t have access to is when we start to be limited in the way we manage our own condition. And limiting choices benefits no one.
What you can do?
Read about the review and the submission process here: http://www.pbs.gov.au/info/reviews/diabetes
Your submission must be accompanied by a cover sheet which can be downloaded from here: http://www.pbs.gov.au/reviews/diabetes-files/diabetes-review-cover-sheet-for-submissions.pdf
Return your submission (and cover sheet) either by email:
Department of Health and Ageing
GPO Box 9848
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Submissions must be received by Thursday 15 November 2012.
Renza Scibilia is the Manager of Type 1 Diabetes and Community Programs at DA–Vic. She has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1998. The opinions and thoughts expressed in her occasional blogs are her own.