As part of our Diabetes Week activity, we hosted a webinar for our local diabetes community to highlight why Tech Can’t Wait.
Tech Can’t Wait is our national campaign to make sure everyone living with diabetes has fair and equal access to the diabetes tech they’re eligible for. Living with diabetes can be a constant juggling act, but having the tech you need and are eligible for can help make your life that little bit easier.
We hoped that our webinar would help local people who are newly diagnosed, might be feeling nervous about using diabetes tech or are unsure of how to go about accessing the tech they need.
We were delighted to be joined at our webinar by Dr Rob Andrews, Associate Professor of Diabetes at the University of Exeter and Honorary Consultant Physician at Musgrove Park Hospital Taunton, who gave a brilliant overview on diabetes tech to our 30 strong audience.
Rob looked in detail at:
- Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) which let you check your sugar levels without you having to prick your fingers. By using CGM, your latest sugar levels show up on device or mobile automatically, transmitted by Bluetooth.
- Flash monitors, which also let you check your sugar levels without having to prick your fingers, but the difference here is that you need to scan your device or mobile to get your sugar readings.
- Pumps – a small electronic device that releases the regular insulin your body needs through the day and night, so you don’t need to do insulin injections.
Anthony Walker from the Diabetes UK Policy, Campaigns and Mobilisation team, which is leading on the Tech Can’t Wait campaign, then gave an overview about what you can get on the NHS for both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
New guidance from NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) in England recommends giving more people living with diabetes access to flash and CGM.
Behind the scenes, our team is working to ensure local policies in the south west and south central align with these guidelines, and we hope that by improving access to tech, more people living with diabetes will be able to better manage their diabetes.
We then welcomed two lovely members of our local diabetes community, Sue Briggs and Chris Wilkinson, who spoke about their own experiences of using tech.
Chris, a pilot from Reading, needs to use CGM in order to fly. He shared:
"Pricking your finger to check your blood sugar isn’t practical in a small aircraft on your own! So, I now have a CGM. The brand of CGM I need to use is not available on the NHS so it is not a cheap option as I have to pay for this myself, but it produces all the reports in PDF for me to submit to the doctors for my Pilot Medical.
Read Chris' full story: Tech gave me back my pilot medical after my type 1 diagnosis.
Sue from Somerset self-funds a closed loop system, which involves using a CGM and pump that ‘talk to each other’. She said:
"I went over onto the looping system two and a half years ago, after two weeks I wanted to throw the whole thing away. I went back to my old system, and then returned to it again with a lot of help from my specialist nurse. I've been looping now for two and a half years, and I would not want to be without it. It's reduced my hypos massively, but most importantly, I'm able to ignore my diabetes for a large portion of the day."