Monday, 12 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 - Day 1 - Change the World

This week is Diabetes Blog Week.

Each day diabetes bloggers around the world will be writing a blog post on the same topic. You will be able to see who is taking part and what the daily topic is at Bitter Sweet Diabetes.

This is the first year that I have taken part and I've found it extremely challenging. They certainly aren't topics that I would normally choose to tackle, but sometimes it's good to be outside of your comfort zone!

Todays topic: Change the World

Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you.

My response:

Lots of things get me fired up! The hard part is trying to focus on one thing at a time, to feel like I can make a difference, taking one battle at a time rather than spreading myself too thin and acheiving nothing.

Education and knowledge are most probably top of my list currently.

The shocking reality of diabetes in England and Wales (and no doubt the rest of the UK and beyond) is that very few people with diabetes have been offered structured education:

  • Just 2.2% of those with Type 1 and 12.0% of those with Type 2 (who are newly diagnosed) have been offered structured education.
  • In the total diabetes population only 1.6% of those with Type 1 and 4.5% of those with Type 2 have been offered structured education.

For a variety of reasons even fewer people with diabetes are recorded as actually attending structured education:

  • 0.6% for Type 1 and 3.1% for Type 2 for those who are newly diagnosed.
  • 1.0% for Type 1 and 1.4% for Type 2 for all people with diabetes.

It is no surprise (given the lack of education provided) that very few "targets" are met. Those who live with diabetes need the tools to manage their condition and it would seem very few get the training and support they really need.

Source: National Diabetes Audit 2011-2012

Given the evidence base shows that the cost of structured education more than pays for itself in the medium to long term, I fail to understand why it isn't offered to more people. It would reduce the overall cost of diabetes to the NHS and improve the quality of life for those living with this long term condition - a win/win situation and despite NICE guidance and QOF targets I have yet to see much movement in improving these shockingly bad figures.

One of the reasons @OurDiabetes and the #ourD weekly tweetchats was launched (with @ninjabetic1) was to allow others in the online community to host tweetchats on topics that mattered to them. I hope it helps the community to share information and knowledge with each other (as well as being a support network) and it's been interesting to see what fires the community up.

#ourD is inclusive in nature. Everyone with an interest in diabetes is welcomed: from PWDs, to parents, to HCPs, researchers and even MPs! What is most interesting is how the same topics, regardless of diabetes perspective, keep coming up: Education, Stigma, inaccuracies in the media and mental health. I hope #DBlogWeek will help shine a light on all of these topics and more.


1: National Diabetes Audit 2011-2012 (England and Wales data)
2: The cost-effectiveness of the Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) structured education programme: an update using the Sheffield Type 1 Diabetes Policy Model
3: NICE guidance on structured education
4: QOF changes for 2013/14 to 2014/15 (page 5: DM014)