‘Everyone living with diabetes must have fair and equal access to the diabetes tech they’re eligible for’
In Scotland, in 2022, new guidelines led to a £14.6 million Scottish Government funding to increase access to hybrid closed loop technologies across Scotland. A campaign named “Diabetes Tech Can’t Wait” was started by Diabetes Scotland, with the aim of ensuring that the funding allocated to this vital diabetes technology is being put into action. The aim was that no matter where you live in Scotland, you can access the technology that will help you take control of your diabetes and live a happier and healthier life. Diabetes technology shouldn’t be a luxury for a few, it is vital for some individuals, and the aim of the campaign is to show decision-makers why everyone living with diabetes must have fair and equal access to the life-changing tech they’re eligible for and ensure that this funding that has already been allocated reaches everyone that needs it.
The foundation of the campaign has been individuals living with diabetes sharing their lived-experience stories. This could be someone who has already had access to tech sharing how it has impacted their life, or someone who hasn’t been able to access it in their area. My story can be found here - https://www.diabetes.org.uk/tech-cant-wait/your-stories/alyssa, and you can see more of these lived-experience stories shared as part of the campaign here, as each and every story shared are extremely powerful - https://www.diabetes.org.uk/tech-cant-wait/your-stories.
Diabetes Scotland launched a tool as part of the “Diabetes Tech Can’t Wait” campaign called the ‘Postcode Lookup’. In this tool, you can put in your postcode and find out the data on diabetes technology in your area in Scotland. The reasoning behind having this tool is that access to diabetes technology isn’t equal across all areas of Scotland and can be described as a ‘postcode lottery’, meaning that some postcodes are luckier and have better access. Once you put in your postcode it will show you the data on your area, and from there it gives you the option to sent an email to your local MSP (member of Scottish Parliament) to further campaign for fair and equal access to diabetes technology.
Another aspect of the campaign was discussing the campaign in the Scottish Parliament. In Scotland, we have something called the ‘Diabetes Cross Party Group (CPG)’ which happens in the Scottish Parliament, and is co-chaired by MSP’s, one of which has type 1 diabetes themselves (Emma Harper MSP). Each CPG meeting has a different topic, and the last meeting on 21st June had a focus on access to diabetes technology to further campaign. An announcement was made at the CPG on 21st June that as a result of the ‘Diabetes Tech Can’t Wait’ campaign, a further £350,000 funding was allocated to speed up delivery of the previous £14.6 million allocated to implementing hybrid closed loop systems, and this funding will fund staff and training resources to ensure that individuals living with type 1 diabetes can access the diabetes technology, which is amazing!
The crux of the campaign has been a collective effort of individuals with diabetes/their caregivers who have been tirelessly campaigning throughout this year. The ‘Tech Collective’, as they are named, have been meeting monthly, sharing their stories, contacting their MSPs and sharing the campaign with social media/local news, and they have been a vital part of the campaign.
Today in the Scottish Parliament, there will be a reception for the ‘Tech Collective’ members, along with Members of Scottish Parliament and other important decision makers. The ‘Diabetes Tech Can’t Wait’ campaign/Diabetes Scotland will be launching its report discussing the importance of the campaign.
It has been a pleasure to be a part of the ‘Diabetes Tech Can’t Wait’ campaign. In my opinion, access to diabetes technology (for those who want it and need it) falls under the human right of ‘right to adequate healthcare’, as it has been essential to my own diabetes journey, and having fair and equal access to this will be life changing to diabetes care in Scotland. I will share the ‘Diabetes Tech Can’t Wait’ report when it launches!
Until next time,