Last night I popped along to “Diabetes Question Time”, organised by Diabetes UK and briefly plugged on the blog the other day. The purpose of the event was to give the pancreatically challenged hoard the opportunity to quiz Scottish MSPs from all major parties about diabetes health care and policy.
If this sounds incredibly boring to you, then I can safely report that it wasn’t. Questions covered off controversial issues such as pump funding, test strip availability for Type Twos, psychological support for children with diabetes and so on. All good, wholesome and highly absorbing stuff.
Present were MSPs Ross Finnie of the Liberal Democrats, Nanette Milne from the Scottish Conservatives, Patrick Harvie from the Scottish Green Party, Richard Simpson from the Scottish Labour Party and Shona Robison from the Scottish National Party.
To be blunt, none of them impressed me with their proposals (such as they were), with Ross Finnie (who does actually have type one) and Richard Simpson being the best of a bad lot. At least they did have some reasonable understanding of the issues under discussion and made some good points from time to time.
Patrick Harvie of the Green Party scored major idiot points by somehow bringing diabetes care around to transport policy (his point was that if we were less reliant on cars, then more people would exercise, and we would have fewer diabetics. See, I told you, an idiot), so the less said about him the better. Nanette Milne didn’t say much, but at least had the honesty to say the argument about test strip provision was too technical for her and therefore she didn’t really have a view. Honest maybe, but I wouldn’t want her as health minister.
Shona Robison – currently Scottish Minister for Public Health and Sport – was so feeble and gutless I couldn’t even bring myself to hate her. When criticised about specifics her defence tended to be that she didn’t know about it and would “look into it”. I was entirely unconvinced about anything she said in relation to health care.
The main observation I made was that the audience was infinitely better informed about health care in Scotland than anyone sitting on the panel. There were some great questions and great counter arguments raised and Diabetes UK specifically scored major points by pointing out that they intended to honour their Diabetes Manifesto – unlike most politician’s with their manifestos – and would be there to support diabetics for their lifetime, not just for a five year term of office like those on the panel. Yeah, you tell ’em DUK!
So, anyway, the politicians hedged and fudging and I was entirely unconvinced by any of them. However, a thoroughly entertaining time was had by all and I would highly recommend going along to events like these if you have the slightest interest in the state of diabetes healthcare.