Everyone’s second favourite pump & CGM company Medtronic once again brought together a bunch of interweb-savy diabetic types in Switzerland for their almost annual internet forum. The last two forums were pretty UK focussed, but diabetics have now been discovered outside of the UK in the deepest, darkest depths of Europe, so this time was a veritable Eurovision song contest with representatives from UK, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy and Greece.
There wasn’t much in the way of news from Medtronic that I can share with you without them hunting me down and shooting me for breaching my confidentiality agreement. But take it from me, it was really interesting to get an update on what’s happening, but there was no major news that would be worth getting shot for.
It was encouraging to see that the evidence base showing pumps and CGM make a difference to diabetes control has grown massively in the last few years, with more and more research results being published – this makes it easier to put together a strong argument for them to be funded. But we all know that’s just the first hurdle – in the UK even when people meet the NICE criteria for pump funding, they’re often refused it. That’s where we patients need to be strong in campaigning.
It was good to talk with our European friends about how laws and experiences differ significantly in countries across Europe. In Italy, companies aren’t allowed to talk to patients about pumps, or even have a picture of them on their website, all communication must go via the Dr. In Holland, people talked about not being able to get their insurance companies to fund new pumps or CGM. Across the board, while the details differed, the common theme seemed to be that we like pumps and CGM, but people are struggling to get hold of them or in some cases, even to know that they exist.
And as a mixture of diabetes bloggers and forum administrators we seemed to come to a common conclusion. That we’re motivated to do this because we want people to know what’s out there, what good care looks like and how to get it. We’re all frustrated by the same failings and are plugging away trying to move things forward, a little step at a time. What we struggle with is how to reach the people who are alone and have only their own experiences to measure their care against – how do we spread the word further?
Thanks to Medtronic for organising and funding the meeting – it’s always useful to speak to others about what’s going on in that big bad diabetes world. Here are a selection of the blogs that were represented at the event alongside other forums, tweeters and Facebookers:
Mydiabetesdigital – first digital lifestyle magazine for diabetics (available in English, Dutch, German & French)
Diabetando – Italian diabetes blog
Sweet-kid.com – written by the Greek father of a diabetic child (all in Greek, but the flags at the top of the page will translate it into local languages)
Mein-diabetes-blog.com – you’ll need to know your German for this blog written by Ilke and Finn who both have diabetes