JDRF Type 1 Parliament: putting Type 1 on the agenda

By | 26 April, 2012

JDRFcorralled 60 something children and adults with Type 1 diabetes into a room yesterday, introduced 50 something MP’s into the mix, stirred in a few key messages and stood back. Even with no added sugar, the result was very tasty.

JDRF Type 1 Parliament

It's so much easier to spot a diabetic if you make them all wear blue

Did you know…

  • Type 1 is more common than meningitis, but is frequently misdiagnosed?
  • Prevalence of Type 1 is growing at 4% a year? This makes Type 1 more successful in growth terms than most high interest saving accounts. But while I’d be delighted if my salary was rising at that rate, nicely keeping pace with inflation, it’s not quite such an attractive number when you’re talking about the number of people having to play at being their own pancreas in the UK.
  • Type 1 is one of the big guns when it comes to childhood chronic diseases. It occurs more frequently than cancer, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

I think it’s fair to say most of our MPs didn’t know this before they received their briefing packs. And coupled with personal stories from the pancreatically challenged, the event really opened their eyes to what life with Type 1 is really like. I heard parents talking about how they dream of getting like a full night’s sleep, rather than having to get up to check for hypos and highs. I heard kids talking about just wanting to eat a meal without it turning into a mental arithmetic test. I heard adults talking about the physical and mental challenges of living with complications.

And all of that had a powerful emotional pull. But the piece of data that turned this from a sympathy gathering exercise into a real push to get extra political weight behind the Type 1 cause was this.

  • In 2010/11 the direct cost to the NHS of treating Type 1 was £1 billion
  • Of that, diagnosing and treating Type 1 cost £291m
  • The other £700m was spent on treating the often preventable complications that arise from T1

Even the simplest of folk can see that if you put a bit more focus onto looking at how you can improve the treatment of Type 1 (or even better, eradicate it altogether) you can reduce the whopping amount you spend on preventable complications. And if you buy that, you also get happier Type 1s into the bargain.

JDRF’s Type 1 Parliament was about getting Type 1 diabetes onto the agenda. And it certainly did that. Now we have to capitalise on what we’ve started and keep the pressure on.

And that’s where we’ll stop for now. As every writer of a badly written blog knows, if you have content for a post, it’s nice to eek it out a bit, so you can spread the boredom for your readers over a longer period.  More later on the debate that followed.

Thanks to Animas for inviting me along to the event as their guest, paying for my travel and being generally nice people.

9 thoughts on “JDRF Type 1 Parliament: putting Type 1 on the agenda

  1. Adrienne

    Fantastic piece yet again Alison. Lots of my friends were there and they have done us proud. It sounds like a fantastic day and here’s hoping that good will come out of it. JDRF really are a top notch charity, best there is for children with type 1 x

    1. Alison Post author

      It was a great day. I was really impressed by all the delegates, they were impossible to ignore. And the messages they were getting over were spot on for adults with type 1 too, not just the kids.

  2. Megs

    Wouldn’t it be good to see a reversal of the figures for treatment /diagnosis and treatment of complications. £700m for new technology /access to new treatments and £291m or a lot less on complications.

    What a good event to have. Was there a symphony of pump alarms in the hall?

    1. Alison Post author

      @megs Couldn’t agree more.

      And yes, the hall was beeping away. I nearly sent myself hypo the number of times I twitched to grab my pump and realised it was someone else’s making the noise!

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