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Diabetes care in the UK

Discussion in 'Ask A Question' started by Triciasquisha, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. Triciasquisha

    Triciasquisha Type 1 · Newbie

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    Hello. I’m a type 1 diabetic in Santa Barbara, CA and I was wondering about how pleased other diabetics are with the care of their illness in the UK. I find that, even though I have insurance through my work, I struggle with the expense of diabetes care here. I previously had been on an insulin pump and my endocrinologist has recently tried me on a continuous glucose monitor. Both had been successful in managing my blood sugars well but both have become too expensive, even with insurance. I was just curious if any diabetics in the UK have had success with these devices and if these devices are easily accessible with the healthcare system there. Thank you in advance for your input!
     
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  2. helensaramay

    helensaramay Type 1 · Expert

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    I believe diabetes is different to many medical conditions (although I have no experience of any other) in that it is not possible to take one pill two times a day and that is it. Therefore, much of diabetes care is self care and our health care system provides the tools for this care in terms of medication, technology and, to a certain extent knowledge.

    For me, the medication has been insulin. Over the last 14 years, I have been on mixed insulin for a short period of time, then basal bolus for 12 years and most recently a pump.
    Which brings me on to the technology: this seems to vary significantly throughout the UK. I was lucky enough to be offered a pump. However, I had no choice about which pump: my choice was Animas Vibe or staying on basal bolus.
    I have self funded CGM on and off but, for me, I find I cannot trust the CGM readings as they are inconsistently inaccurate. It is rare for the NHS to fund a CGM. The Libre (a Flash GM) has recently been approved but the take up/prescription of these is still limited.
    Finally, knowledge. This is two fold: knowledge about diabetes and knowledge about myself. When I was initially diagnosed, I was given some information but much of what I have learnt is through self learning which includes everything from this forum, research papers and an Open University course. Many areas also offer a course (usually called "DAFNE") which is mainly about carb counting. This was offered to me 12 years after I was diagnosed; I attended because attendance was a pre-requisite to my pump. Then, with my pump, I was given some training on how to use it.
    Knowledge about myself comes with my annual diabetes review in terms of HbA1C, liver function, kidney function, cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, retinal scan etc. This is the greatest value I get from my annual review and assures me that I am keeping on top of my diabetes management. Others have more regular reviews.

    Sorry, this is a long winded answer to your question about whether I am happy with the level of care I have for my diabetes. The answer is that I am satisfied I get what I need from my NHS. I don't think it is top of the range or always forward thinking but I have no reason to complain and happy I get value for money from my taxes. And, on balance, feel the limited funds available are spent constructively.
     
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  3. Mel dCP

    Mel dCP Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I’m in Wales, UK. I’ve had excellent care throughout my twenty years as a diabetic, including when I was pregnant with my son and obviously needed very close monitoring. I’ve been one a basal/bolus regime for most of those 20 years, and have always been issued with as much insulin, testing kit and needles as I’ve required, sometimes at very short notice. For the first few years, I had to pay for my needles, as they were for the new pens, and brand new diabetes tech isn’t always immediately available on prescription. I quickly got into the bad habit of making a needle last many injections until it went blunt...

    In the last month I’ve been given the Libre on prescription. All prescription meds are issued without charge in Wales, our system is slightly different to the English one, where you have to pay a fixed charge for certain things.

    We’re on an ok but pretty low income - we manage. If I was in America I’d probably be dead because I couldn’t afford insulin. I’ve seen too many crowdfunding campaigns on social media for people over there trying to raise money for their testing strips and insulin to be confident I could manage. Rationing tests and insulin through necessity, DKAs and medical bankruptcy terrify me.
     
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  4. bamba

    bamba Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    In England a diabetic on any another regime than diet-and-exercise only, can obtain a certificate providing payment examption for all their prescribed medicine - this has to be renewed every 5 years.
     
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  5. Olufisayo

    Olufisayo Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    All of you are lucky! In my country it is self funding. No one cares
     
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  6. CathP

    CathP Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I’m in Wales and am very grateful for our health care system. My daughter is t1 and is fully funded for her pump and dexcom g5, which are tools we wouldn’t want to be without now.
     
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  7. porl69

    porl69 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Another Welsh person here. Just got the Libre on prescription and have always got my diabetic supplies on the NHS since i was 6 (45 years now WOW). We are soooo lucky. If i was living in America, as @Mel dCP has said, I would more than likely be dead :'(
     
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  8. Triciasquisha

    Triciasquisha Type 1 · Newbie

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    Out of curiosity, what country are you in?
     
  9. Rokaab

    Rokaab Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm in England and whilst I do get all my prescriptions free, my local area hasn't decided whether they'll be prescribing the libre or not yet and I've been told I don't meet the requirements for a pump :(
    I've found the libre very useful and so far can afford to pay for that.
     
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  10. helensaramay

    helensaramay Type 1 · Expert

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    All prescription charges in England for people with certain health conditions such as type 1 diabetes (and maybe type 2 but I am not certain) are free provided you have proof you are entitled to free prescriptions.
    I find this slightly odd as some medication is completely unrelated to diabetes. For example, I was entitled to free pain relief cream when I scratched my cornea due to an unimpressive climbing accident.
     
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  11. tayelola

    tayelola Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    He is a Nigerian as the name suggests.
     
  12. NicoleC1971

    NicoleC1971 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi! Does your health care depend on your employer or your partners'? What happens is you move jobs with a pre existing condition?
    I live near London and so far have had lots of help from the NHS for my type 1 diabetes which I have had for 36 + years. This varies from region to region but if you are type 1 you get the basics such as test strips for a meter and insulin plus insulin pens. ON top of this I have had laser treatment then 2 complicated eye surgeries plus 3 c sections with the necessary special care for my premature babies! As type 1s are typically more likely to need medications, they are also allowed free prescriptions. Latterly I was issued a pump but I do have to meet rationing criteria for that e..g a reduction in HBA1c and cannot yet get access to CGM nor can I afford to self fund it so am hopeful that when my pump is due to be replaced that there will be good 'closed loop' systems. I am truly grateful for all of this but aware that it may not be available in the future given the massive demands upon our health service caused by our ageing population and the chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes that are on the rise. My condition is however largely self managed and my consultants do little more than check my 'co morbidities' (kidney and heart disease) and allow me to get access to a pump and hopefully, in time, CGM.
    Re Nigeria, I know of some wealthy parents who had a 16 month old diagnosed over there and have subsequently had to seek Uk and US medical care to manage their child's condition so can only hope that type 1 is a rarer thing than in the Northern hemisphere.
     
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  13. membrew

    membrew Type 2 · Active Member

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    I am 79 and live in West Yorkshire, England, have type 2 and cannot have prescription for lancets and test strips even though I am required to test frequently.
    Not amused. Membrew
     
  14. flowerthym

    flowerthym Type 2 · Member

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  15. gardengnome42

    gardengnome42 Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Oh that is sad, where are you Olufisayo?
     
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  16. Derbysocks

    Derbysocks Type 2 · Active Member

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    I am in the UK & type 2 on insulin and pills. As soon as you are diagnosed diabetic you fill in a form in which your doctor confirms you are diabetic and all prescriptions are free from that point on. Type 2’s on diet & pills sometimes get bg meters but not alway. I didn’t have a meter for years but then I have never had a low. As soon as you go onto insulin you should get a meter and supplies for it on prescription. My diabetic nurse has just switch all bg meters to an accu-check meter as they have been given them for free and the supplies are supposedly cheaper than my current wave sense jazz meter.
     
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  17. Derbysocks

    Derbysocks Type 2 · Active Member

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    Hi according to my doctors you should get them on prescription. I would complain to my MP IF I way you.
     
  18. BobSalviac

    BobSalviac Type 1 · Newbie

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  19. BobSalviac

    BobSalviac Type 1 · Newbie

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    Hello

    I am an American living fullftime in France. My French National Health care covers all of my diabetes care costs. I use a pump and a continuous glucose meter. I pay for this insurance but the cost is small and covers everything. It would be impossible to return to the US and the impossible insurance there.

    Good luck.

    Bob
     
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  20. Grant_Vicat

    Grant_Vicat Don't have diabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Hi, as somebody who had Type 1 for 54 years I must have cost the taxpayer a fortune as I had supplies of syringes, needles, cotton wool, surgical spirit, industrial meths, Lente, Actrapid and Monotard insulins, testing strips (200 a month) lancets, and a battery of different tablets for hypertension, phosphate binders, and any medication including paracetamol (!) for resultant and even unrelated problems. After my pancreas transplant in 2013, for 6 months I was on an anti-viral drug that cost, at the time, £1200 a month. In the last 4 years I have been on a prepayment prescription that saves me having to spend at least £42 per month for immunosuppresants and other necessary drugs. I am well aware of how fortunate I am to live in England. Not only has this marvellous but overstretched and underfunded system kept me alive for nearly 60 years, but has done so without the fear of my bancruptcy. I would not support a government that is trying to imitate the American health service. That would be suicidal!
     
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