Despite my championing multiple daily injections in a previous article, I have to finally come out and confess that I’m getting a pump. Eventually.
Back in the heady days of July, I popped along to my diabetes clinic and spoke to the specialist diabetes nurse about pumps. We discussed my diabetes and the problems that I have with it – the main problem being my BG range is huge – first really high, then really low.
We then had a chat about pumps in general and discussed the research I had done and how I thought one could help me to level out my BG, so that the graph of my results could resemble something less like a profile of the Himalayas. We also had a fiddle around with a pump and got very geeky about how they could be configured and programmed to precisely match my insulin needs. After an hour or so of jolly chat we both reached the considered conclusion that pumps were very definitely the Way Forward.
A month later and I received confirmation that lo! I had indeed been placed on the waiting list for funding and training. The email also casually mentioned said waiting list was eighteen months. Grr.
I would, in other words, have to wait until 2011 to get my pump. By then I would have reached the ripe old age of 34 and would be 2.8% of my lifetime closer to the cold, unforgiving grave (assuming I get my full three score years and ten). I was not, and indeed am still not, pleased.
As I have a legal background in contentious stuff (to use a technical term there) and having been educated in the “Alison Finney School of Badgering Primary Care Trusts” I have decided not to stand for this. This is not because I want to skip the queue to get a pump ahead of everyone else – I want anyone who needs a pump to get one quickly. Healthcare provision is partly about serving the patient’s needs and unless patients let their healthcare providers know what their needs and expectations are nothing will ever change.
Realistically I’m not expecting the NHS to hand pumps out like sweeties (sweeties and diabetes never mix, after all) but it’s not unreasonable for diabetics to get the healthcare support and resources that they need. Especially when an increasing number of studies have shown that provision of pumps and good healthcare lead to fewer complications, which in turn leads to lower healthcare costs in the future. In other words, spend a bit more money now and save a hell of a lot later.
As I mentioned in my article about pumps being debated in the Scottish Parliament, Scotland seriously lags behind the rest of the western world in pump provision. Out of population of five million, only 416 people in Scotland have pumps for goodness sake! Scotland and the UK really do need to be dragged into the 21st century in relation to diabetes care.
So what have I done so far? As a starter for ten, I’ve corresponded with the various groups that support pump users including iPAG Scotland, the tireless Lesley at INPUT and Diabetes UK Scotland. In addition, I’ve written to my Member of the Scottish Parliament (health is a devolved matter – so Scotland deals with it, rather than Westminster) and asked for his support, which he’s confirmed he will give. I’ve also bashed off a note to the doctor who heads up the pump provision at my hospital to ask for his comments.
So, dear readers, the saga continues and I’ll keep you up to date with the thrills and spills of pump provision within the NHS as it happens. As always your comments and experiences are always very, very welcome here and on the forums.