June update – by Barbara Young


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Barbara Young June was a frantic month, but exhilarating! We won the Guinness World Record for the greatest number of waists measured in a day in spite of the fact that it poured all day and there were very few people around to lure in. Waist measurement is a really important risk indicator for Type 2 diabetes. Thanks to the staff and volunteers and celebs who made it possible, including the ace invigilator from Guinness who was very suave but very wet!

There was a big crescendo towards the publication of the National Audit Office (the auditors of government’s value for money) report on the wasteful way in which the NHS spends big bucks on diabetes but mostly on dealing with avoidable complications which cost 80% of the diabetes budget and lots of heartache and lives.

Yet the basic care processes are not being delivered consistently across the NHS, 11 years after the National Service Framework was published. We appeared in front of the Public Accounts Committee to make the case for diabetes being a priority. We wait to see what actions happen as a result. Diabetes Voices across England did a fine job to raise the focus, armed with local information on the day of our parliamentary lobby and raised the issues and got commitments to action from their constituency MPs. People power in action.

We are also delighted that the video on symptoms of Type 1 diabetes is now live! We are plugging it widely to get a million people to view it by World Diabetes Day to ensure children with Type 1 are diagnosed swiftly and certainly before they risk coma and huge distress for their families, which happens too often currently. You can see the video on our YouTube channel. Please pass it on to anyone you know who comes into contact with children – parents, grannies, schools, pre-schools, GPs, nurses. We want everyone to be able to recite the symptoms in their sleep!

Our work with DVLA on getting a clearer form and guidance for applications for licenses for people with diabetes has borne fruit and these are now on our website and the DVLA website. We will be monitoring carefully what happens to the trend in licences refused. There is no doubt the new rules are tougher but at least no-one should now lose their licence in error. Hope you find the guidance helpful.

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There is no doubt that Diabetic drivers are continuing to be discriminated against by DVLA/UK govt/EU. Is it not about time all drivers were required to have regular medical check ups before being granted a licence why just Diabetic drivers? Drivers with undetected medical conditions/alcoholics etc are freely allowed a licence without checks or being required to make unenforceable promises to test regularly and record results, this is blatant discrimination pure and simple and I look forward to robust legal challenges being mounted against this bureaucratic nonsense in the future.

Ignorance at DVLA is a major issue. I nearly lost my license of 25 years because DVLA did not know the renewal process but refused to admit it. Eventually thanks to a fight from Diabetes uk and contact with the right people I got my license renewed. I have no convictions or complications so originally this should hav been easy but DVLA were crazy and even talking to,a person who knew type 1 was impossible. Thank you Diabetes Uk – keep fighting for driving discrimination and rights for types 1s who are much misunderstood.