Today was the last day of Diabetes Awareness month and sadly I have to say that some of those who need to be more aware of Diabetes (Types 1, 2 and more) are the GPs and Doctor’s surgeries around the UK.
If you don’t have Diabetes yourself or are close to someone who has, then you may not know the absolute battle that it can be sometimes simply to get the basics for Diabetes care.
The blood testing strips, insulin pens, insulin, needles etc etc aren’t optional things, they are all things that keep someone with Type 1 Diabetes in particular ALIVE. Without the means to monitor blood glucose levels, managing Type 1 Diabetes is pretty much impossible and dangerous.
Without blood glucose testing means, good control of Type 1 goes completely out of the window and would make complications from Type 1 Diabetes a lot more likely in the long-term. Those complications would cost the NHS a damn sight more than giving people the tools they need to try to control their condition.
Test strips in particular seem to be the items that GPs try to withhold – not all GPs, there are lots of good ones out there but, way too many GPs. In any Type 1 Diabetes group online that you look in, there are scores of people complaining and worrying about the fact their GP has refused them any more strips, or will only prescribe very small amounts at a time.
The test strips are expensive, I know they are. At times when our GP didn’t prescribe enough and we were caught out I have had to buy our own strips – £20 ish for 50 strips. My son tests his blood glucose levels a minimum of 7 times a day, we get through a lot of strips. GPs in the past have asked me if we’re testing too much. Our Type 1 consultant … you know the actual expert in Type 1 Diabetes is more than happy with how much we test.
I even once had a GP accuse me of selling on the test strips – they sell for a lot online to people abroad who don’t have access to a National Health Service apparently. I put in a complaint after that happened, I was pretty disgusted to be honest and felt seriously judged.
Luckily after taking in a huge folder with a huge amount of my son’s blood test results in and showing it to a Doctor, in a bit of a mini rage after having our strips restricted again, they put a note on my son’s prescriptions. They gave us what we needed to do the basics at last.
It’s even worse for people with Type 2 Diabetes arguably, as often GPs from what I have heard from other’s experiences don’t want them to have test strips at all. Type 2 is controlled differently than Type 1 usually, but not knowing what your blood glucose levels are is just working blind. Increasing the chances of complications, as often people have no idea how they are doing until their appointments with doctors.
We also constantly have the battle that the surgery change my son’s needles for his injections to cheaper ones. Lovely yes save money where you can with the NHS but, I have explained so many times that the needles they change him to bruise and hurt him a lot more than our usual ones. Am I wrong to think that with everything my son puts up with, that he shouldn’t have to put up with more avoidable pain?!
Each time they change them back but, I just know that I’ll have the battle again. In so many places around the country people are battling with their GPs for the basics that they need to attempt to control their Diabetes, in my opinion this just isn’t good enough.