What It Means To Me – A HCP’s Perspective

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 12:00

The government announcement on 1st April for CGM subsidy for the under 21s was such a milestone for people living with Type 1 diabetes.  As a healthcare professional, who works exclusively with this age group, this was an amazing thing for me to witness.

I started my nursing career in the UK in 1994 and moved to Australia in 2005.  At that time, I had not had much exposure to insulin pump therapy or CGM and I was on a steep learning curve to get up to speed with these technologies.

Since then, not only have these technologies evolved and improved, but the funding situation has reversed.   I hadn’t had the exposure, as insulin pumps and CGM were inaccessible to many in the UK, as they were not funded under the NHS (National Health Service), and private health insurance did not cover these therapies.

Since I have been here in Australia, the NHS has funded these therapies but Australia has sadly relied on patients having their own funds for CGM and taking out private Health insurance for pumps.

I have looked after so many young people and their families who would hugely benefit from CGM, yet they have been unable to afford it.  For those who have, they have seen the huge clinical benefits.  Many families have told me that they have done this because of the benefits, but that it has been at a huge financial drain on their income.

Any parent or carer of a child or young person with Type 1 diabetes will tell you that their greatest fear is hypoglycaemia, particularly nocturnal (overnight) hypoglycaemia.  So much so, that many of these parents have not had a full night’s sleep since their child’s diagnosis, as they are constantly worried about what their child’s blood glucose levels are doing.  To have access to a system that will alert them when their child’s levels are going out of range, and better still shut off the insulin delivery to prevent a hypo when it is predicted, (if they are wearing the MiniMed® 640G insulin pump with SmartGuard® technology) will be life changing for these families.  Not only will they be able to sleep at night, but their children will also not be disturbed by the frequent overnight finger pricks that have sadly had to become the norm for them.

On the opposite end of the scale, the other major fear that these young people face is the risk of hyperglycaemia and associated long-term complications that this presents. CGM alerts will again minimise these events and therefore result in better overall glycaemic control and long term outcomes. 

For young people going on camps, playing sports, having sleepovers etc, the Guardian Connect system allows carers to have access to the blood glucose levels remotely on their phones, which again is life changing.  Finally, these children and young people can start living their lives as they should, without the constant thought of ‘Am I safe’.

For me as a health care professional, to have access to such a detailed profile of blood glucose levels, means that I can support my patients to have appropriate insulin adjustments made and actually assess properly if these adjustments have been effective.

I truly hope that this subsidy is eventually opened up to the over 21s also as I believe anyone on insulin should be able to access such essential technology.  It is a tool that I have no doubt will improve the lives and overall diabetes control for all affected by this ever increasing condition.

Lucy Casson
Total Diabetes Care
Website: totaldiabetescare.com.au

With an exclusive focus on helping kids living with Type 1 Diabetes, Lucy was overjoyed at the CGM funding announcement.

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