Taking our fight for Flash to parliament
On 19 July, we took our #FightForFlash campaign to parliament. Thousands of supporters asked their MP to attend the Diabetes All Party Parliamentary Group meeting on the current postcode lottery of access to flash glucose monitoring technology. It was inspiring to see so many people there, sharing their incredible stories and bringing to life the benefits of flash for them. Here’s what Tamara (pictured second right), had to say about the meeting and her experience of using flash.
“My name is Tamara Bloomfield and I have been Type 1 for nearly 30 years. I was diagnosed at the age of 13, and unfortunately my son was diagnosed Type 1 three years ago at the age of 12.
I had an amazing opportunity when Diabetes UK invited me to speak at the APPG meeting – 6 months of Flash Glucose Monitoring – What’s next for access technology? at the Houses of Parliament.
It was my opportunity to talk about my son’s and my experience of not only living with Type 1 diabetes, but also our experience of just how beneficial the Flash Glucose Monitoring system (Libre) is to us.
I have kidney damage, eye damage and gastro damage all due to Type 1 complications, and I’m one of the lucky ones. I strongly believe that these complications would and could have been reduced if I had had the Libre available to me through my Type 1 journey.
The Libre would make, and does make, living with Type 1 easier. Easier for the patient, easier for the parent, for the partner, for teachers, carers, doctors, nurses, easier on the NHS.
I have trialled the Libre myself, and I love it. It bought to my attention how frequently I am having night time hypos, where my glucose levels are dropping dangerously low, constantly through the night, hypo after hypo. I would never have been aware of how frequently I go low if it wasn’t for me trialling the Libre.
So I can now manage these night time hypos until the pattern changes. The patterns are never the same for long periods, but as I am not able to get the Libre on NHS prescription, I won’t see the change in my glucose pattern – a scary thought.
My son has been using the Libre for 3 weeks now – we are lucky enough that his Type 1 team have managed to get it on the NHS for him for 6 months. He is loving it, and it’s helping him and us, his family, in his day-to-day living.
Before he had his Libre we would constantly have to remind him to pick his finger to test his levels. We were lucky if he did a test three times a day. He would just try and avoid testing his levels rather than have to get to stop, get his kit out, have people question him or try to get him to hurry up, wash his hands, prepare his machine, prick his finger, apply the blood, wait patiently for the reading and not to know if its levels were rising or falling, so he would have to guess that, then put it all away safely, to find that his friends and life, had gone on without him.
So besides all the medical evidence on just how beneficial and cost-effective the Libre is, the emotional benefits are amazing. Living with Type 1 diabetes, our lives will always be different, but I strongly feel the Freestyle Libre Flash glucose monitoring system is one step closer to living an easier life.
I am confident that if we all keep fighting this we will succeed, as we have an amazing group of people and charities behind us.”
We’d like to thank Tamara and everyone who came to share their stories. We think everyone with diabetes should have access to the technology that is right for them. The #FightForFlash isn’t over yet, and we will keep campaigning until everyone who could benefit from Flash has access to this life-changing technology.
Main picture: from left: Dave Ward, Tamara Bloomfield, Professor Gerry Rayman, Keith Vaz MP, Dr May Ng, Dr Pratik Choudhary, Liz McKinnes MP.