I am all about facts. So when writing to the Commonwealth Health Minister, Sussan Ley, asking her to make CGM available to Australians living with type 1 diabetes choosing to use this technology, I left the emotion behind and concentrated on the realities. I can’t say that it has saved my life, because I don’t know that is the case. I do know it makes my life easier, better, happier and healthier. And that has to count for something. This is my letter about my real life with diabetes and how I choose to use CGM. I urge anyone else who believes this technology should be available more broadly to write to the Minister and share your story. My post on the Diabetes Victoria Blog from last week has some tips about what – and how – to write.
Dear Minister Ley
On Tuesday, I attended an event at Parliament House about type 1 diabetes and new technologies. The aim of the night was to highlight the importance of developing pathways to ensure that new technologies make it onto the Australian market in a timely manner (in the first instance) and, once approved, are available and affordable to as many people as possible.
Unfortunately, you were unable to attend; however, I did spend some time speaking with one of your advisors and shared a little about my experience of using CGM.
This is not new technology. It has been available in Australia for the better part of the last decade. And yet, it is still out of the reach of most people living with diabetes. This needs to change.
Availing this technology to people with type 1 diabetes who want it is well overdue. Please understand, however, there will be a lot of people not interested in using CGM. But it should be a choice for everyone.
I have worn a CGM on and off for the last eight or so years. There are many reasons I don’t use it all the time. Fortunately for me, I can afford the $5,000 or so it takes each year to use CGM. The reasons I don’t use the technology continually include not feeling like I need the constant data feed, or simply not wanting to use the technology all of the time. Sometimes, I feel it won’t benefit my diabetes management.
Other times, however, I wouldn’t be without it. If my BGLs are more variable than usual (such as when I have an infection or am particularly stressed) or if I am travelling alone, having a CGM provide me with information is very important to me. It keeps me safe, it improves how confident I feel about my diabetes and it means that I stay as healthy as I possibly can.
For me, wearing a CGM is not so much about saving my life. It is about living my life the best I possibly can – despite diabetes; it is about being able to identify, react to and remedy impending high or low blood glucose levels; it is about having information that means diabetes impacts far less than it otherwise would.
Minister, we need sensible pathways that ensure diabetes technology is available equitably. But even more so, we need consistent and transparent processes that expedite the release of new and emerging diabetes technologies onto the Australian market.
I am grateful to use CGM alongside my insulin pump. I believe that it has certainly assisted me to live a healthy and productive life. It is not a luxury. It is a necessity in my arsenal of living well with type 1 diabetes – in the same way that insulin, other devices and their consumables, access to healthcare professionals, and support from my friends and family are necessary.
Minister Ley – it is time to make this technology available to any Australian child or adult with type 1 diabetes who chooses to use it.