Tuesday 18 November saw more than 200 children and young people with diabetes join a Diabetes UK lobby of Parliament to ask MPs to improve support for pupils with diabetes in schools in England.
The event was a great success, with at least 130 parliamentarians listening to the experiences of children with diabetes from all over England. Although some pupils with diabetes receive excellent support to manage their condition at school, others are not so lucky.
Reports of children being banned from school trips, kept out of class and denied access to snacks during lessons are not uncommon, and this can impact directly on their health, education and quality of life.
Health and wellbeing in jeopardy
“I am delighted that the lobby had such a significant impact,” said Diabetes UK’s Chief Executive, Douglas Smallwood.
“We already know that the health and wellbeing of 83 per cent of children with diabetes is in jeopardy because they are not achieving recommended blood glucose levels, and we must do everything we can to help them. Schools have a vital role to play in changing this frightening statistic – and with an estimated 2,000 children being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes every year in the UK, action must be taken now.”
Helping to change
The lobby has already received widespread support and media coverage, notably from Justice Secretary, Jack Straw. After meeting Chloe, one of the children at the Diabetes UK lobby, Mr Straw commented in the Lancashire Telegraph: “Because she joined that lobby of Parliament and made an impression on her local MP, she’s helping to change other lives too.”
The lobby has highlighted to the Government how important it is to make sure existing legislation is implemented effectively so that children are given the appropriate support to control their diabetes from an early age.
Making all children matter
To coincide with World Diabetes Day on Friday 14 November, Diabetes UK released Making all children matter, a report that looks at the current situation for children with diabetes in schools in England and what needs to be done to ensure they get the same opportunities as every other child.
Following the event, Lord Harrison instigated a short debate in the House of Lords in which he mentioned the children he met at the lobby, and Lord Darzi, Health Minister, congratulated Diabetes UK on the "fantastic evidence-based document on the state of diabetic care for children in England."