Last year, I became a Diabetes Advocate with Diabetes Action. Huh!
OK, I’ll back track a little.
Diabetes Action is a group who is lobbying both the government and the HSE to improve health services for people with diabetes. They work by enlisting the support of people like me, who have diabetes, to log onto their website; www.diabetesaction.ie and with a few clicks send a prepared email to our local TD’s and Senators.
When the TD’s receive multiple copies of these letters they are prompted to raise the issue in the Dail. In the meantime, Diabetes Action sends letters to all of the national and regional newspapers in the hope that they will publish our stories and bring diabetes into the mind of the general population. As a local advocate I would contact the local media providing them with local statistics and fact relating to the campaign and encourage people to support the campaign locally.
The combination of the efforts of people with diabetes, Diabetes Action and the TD’s, strongly encourages the policy makers to implement the proposals put forward by Diabetes Action and improve the Diabetes Health service.
“If the correct policies are implemented, we can dramatically improve the health of people with diabetes and save hundreds of millions of Euros in funding over the next 10 years”
So now you know how it works let me tell you a little about the current campaign which targets the services for Children & Teens with Diabetes.
The following is the press statement from Diabetes Action 4th May 2011
Diabetes Action, an advocacy group for improved diabetes health services, says that hundreds of children and adolescents with diabetes can’t access advances in care such as insulin pumps because local paediatric diabetes teams in hospitals around Ireland are under resourced.
“New treatments that control blood sugar and insulin levels are available, but patients need to work with a specialist diabetes nurse and dietician to access this care and paediatric diabetes teams outside of Dublin rarely have the resources to offer these new treatments” she says.
This often leads families to seek a referral to one of the three Dublin hospitals offering intensive treatments like insulin pumps, requiring time off school, off work and causing a separation from the care provided by the local diabetes service team.
“Dublin hospitals are inundated with referrals of children and adolescents with diabetes from the rest of Ireland, our services are under constant pressure. There is need for national reorganisation to provide the latest treatments in more hospitals” says Dr. Colm Costigan, Clinical Director for the 3 Dublin paediatric hospitals and former chairperson of the Expert Advisory Group on diabetes.
To tackle this, Diabetes Action is seeking the reorganisation of existing paediatric diabetes services into 8 regional networks, with the Dublin network acting as a tertiary hub of excellence.
“Services would continue to be delivered at existing hospitals” according to Prof. Hoey “but we’re asking for each network outside Dublin to be staffed by just one additional diabetes nurse specialist and one dietician to support future access to new treatments for diabetes across Ireland”.
The cost of this reorganisation is €750,000 (for 7 nurses and 7 dieticians) but international studies have shown that improved control of diabetes in children and adolescents can lessen the development of costly complications in adulthood by as much as 76%.
“At present 50% of children and adolescents with diabetes develop some form of long term diabetes complication by the time they reach adulthood; these complications are extremely costly to manage. We can dramatically improve health outcomes and quality of life with a very modest investment and a reorganisation of services” says Prof. Hoey
How do you give your support?
Diabetes Action could not have made this simpler.
Log onto the website , follow the prompts that bring you to a prepared email with local information. Add your name, address and email to the document and click “preview” if you would like to add your own comments, and then click “send”.
If you want to do more you can spread the word to as many people who are affected by diabetes as possible encouraging them to support the campaign. This means Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Friends, etc.