Tomorrow, I am flying to Boston to attend the American Diabetes Association 75th Scientific Sessions. (Play along from home by following #2015ADA!)

There will be a strong consumer (reminder to self – use ‘patient’) contingent, which is always terrific. I get to catch up with old friends from the DOC and hear what they have been up to. I learn about new consumer patient-led advocacy efforts that manage to cut through in a way that only people living with diabetes can. I am reminded that conferences ARE the place for people living with the  health condition that is being spoken about at that conference.

I attend conferences with my eyes wide open and leave with great excitement. I see new technologies yet to be released here, or still in development. I hear from people on trials of new drugs and devices. And I see the potential and possibilities for making diabetes easier, more streamlined, more user-focused and feel inspired and hopeful. This is good.

But, I am approaching this conference with a slightly different attitude. With some of the recently announced changes to diabetes supplies in Australia (as I wrote about here and here), I really want to speak with some of my US DOC friends about what it means to be reliant on a health system that limits choice. We have never really had that to date.

Whilst we may not have access to every pump or meter on the market, the consumables for the devices that are here have been available to all. Distribution has been overseen by Diabetes Australia (please read the disclaimer in this post!!) – an organisation representing people with diabetes, not big business or shareholders.

Last night, I attended a dinner at Parliament House in Canberra for the Parliamentary Friends of Diabetes Group. It was a grand occasion, attended by many influential politicians. Health Minister, Sussan Ley made this comment:

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This is, indeed a noble pursuit.

Diabetes Australia President, Judi Moylan stated:

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I would ask that in amidst all of those politically-charged reviews, reports and cost-cutting measures that seem to be the focus of diabetes in Australia at the moment, the human aspect is identified. It is hard to find amongst all the facts and figures.

But it is absolutely critical for our leaders to consider if they want to do best by people living with diabetes. Extraordinary leaders would search for it, find it – and make sure they listen to it. And remember that those extraordinary leaders include people living with diabetes.

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