JDRF corralled 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.
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.