My Diabetes Inklings

Diabetes Blog Week – Day 2 – We, the undersigned.

Day 2 – If you could petition anyone, organisation or project, what change would you ask for?

Funny enough, I am currently petitioning the National Diabetes Service Scheme (NDSS) for equal healthcare access for everyone living with diabetes. Now, just because I’m petitioning them doesn’t mean I am disgruntled with them. Without the NDSS in place, the majority of people living with diabetes would not even be able to afford the medication to keep us alive. Things like insulin, oral hypoglycaemic agents, needle tips, syringes and test strips are all heavily subsidised by the NDSS, which is a government initiative and run by Diabetes Australia. In that sense, I am eternally grateful that we have this in place so we can afford the basic necessities of living with diabetes.

However, when it comes down to subsidies for pump consumables, that’s a different story. There are certain criteria individuals have to meet before being eligible for pump consumable subsidy. The criteria listed for eligibility is listed here. They’ve covered just about every category of diabetes in there – except for type 2. There’s a blanket ban for people with type 2 diabetes who are currently using insulin to manage their condition. What’s the reason for this blatant discrimination? Here are some of my theories:

People with type 2 diabetes are generally managed by tablets or lifestyle changes.

While this is true for most people with type 2 diabetes, keep in mind that there is an increasing number of young adults that are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Although they may be initially responsive to tablets, they may decide that insulin therapy would suit them better down the road. Particularly for ladies who are thinking of starting a family, we would most certainly be needing insulin to cope with the crazy hormones. How handy would being on a pump be while you’re planning for that baby, to get on top of the BGLs and not worry as much during the pregnancy about having multiple needles? One less thing to worry about!

On top of that, not every case of type 2 diabetes is due to poor lifestyle changes. Sometimes, it just happens because it’s within their genetics. Diabetes is not always black and white. Some people don’t fall clearly within a specified group. Let’s take me for an example. Because they’ve eliminated me from the type 1 category, their only other option is to put me in the type 2 category. This is despite the fact that I’ve always been a healthy weight, physically active, and non-responsive to tablets. I started insulin therapy two years into my diagnosis. Does that sounds like a typical type 2 scenario to you? Although I have finally convinced an endo to change this for me, there may be many others in my situation out there.

The money.

Providing us with a generous subsidy for the basic things we need is a luxury. I know of many people in other countries who have to ration their strips because they are only allowed so many per month. How do they expect us to be vigilant in managing our diabetes when we are rationing medical supplies because we can’t afford more? So I’m grateful for NDSS in the regard that we have our basic needs covered and I acknowledge that this is also very costly to our government. Although improving quality of life for us may not be on their high priority list, what about improving diabetes management to reduce the risk of complications down the track? From my understanding, it’s much more costly to manage a complication, particularly if we need to be admitted into hospital and with the limited availability of hospital beds, this is a huge issue for us at the moment. And there is evidence in the literature that insulin pump therapy is the preferred option to help achieve good glycaemic control to reduce the risk of complications. Isn’t prevention better than cure?

At the end of the day, the percentage of people living with type 2 diabetes who are on insulin are quite small. I’m guessing that the percentage who would be appropriate for insulin pump therapy would be smaller. So, I don’t see why a blanket ban is quite necessary.

What do you think?

If you would like to support this petition, you can add your name to the list here and I would be very grateful and thankful!

2 thoughts on “Diabetes Blog Week – Day 2 – We, the undersigned.”

  1. I 100% agree with you Ashley. I too genetically acquired Type 2..so they say. I was certainly no couch potato or overweight. I played plenty of sport and walked as well so go figure. Anyway, thats what I was dealt so I just deal with it. Approx. 3 years after diagnosis I was on tablets…9 months later insulin…not the way I have read that Type 2’s progress. I am led to believe that it generally takes a lot longer before diet and exercise doesnt cut the mustard. I am only on small doses of Novo Rapid…didnt work out with Lantus as well…I reacted to it so I dont miss it and I dont need it. I got onto an App for my ipad called Diabetes Personal Manager and its awesome. It tells me how much Novo Rapid to have with each meal and snack taking into consideration my BGL and carbohydrate count. It is pretty accurate…I had to set a ‘range’ that I wanted to be in and it has very rarely failed me. Consequently I am having to have 6-7 injections daily but the control is way better than ‘guessing’ my dose and ending up all over the shop. I am also on a tablet twice daily. I fail to understand why we are not covered for subsidised consumables for a pump which would make life so much easier. Most people cant afford $300 a month for consumables on top of the numerous prescription medicines necessary to keep us going. My chemist bill would be around $450 – $500 per month…out of my league. If you need insulin you need insulin…its not as if we have a choice. Pumping would be so much easier..less injections for starters. Its been suggested that Im type 1, type 1.5 and type 2. I am not exactly like everyone else. I beginning to wonder what I really am..lol.

    I too feel that type 2’s are being discriminated against as far as subsidised pump consumables are concerned. We arent all categorized as type 1 even though there are many similarities. I too am very grateful for the subsidies we receive for all the other paraphenalia…most of us wouldnt be able to afford the ‘necessities’ otherwise and I dont even want to think about the consequences..

    I do support your petition.

    Regards
    Betty Seeney

    1. Hi Betty,

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your story. There definitely is more grey in diabetes diagnosis out there than we realise. A lot of people don’t fit neatly into the type 1 or type 2 category. Unfortunately people don’t realise and understand that too.

      I am grateful for the healthcare system we have here in Australia now. But there’s always room for improvement. Thank you for your support.

      Regards,
      Ashley

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