This morning, I sat in a restaurant in New Orleans with three of my favourite people and diabetes advocates. If anyone could bottle the tenacity, passion, determination, guts and cheekiness of these three women, they would make a fortune and be able to solve all the problems of the world.
I listened to Anna, Christel and Melissa – who I am lucky enough to call friends – talk about their work and we discussed the US health system which made me shake my head in disbelief and confusion. I don’t understand it; I doubt I ever will. But these three not only navigate the system themselves, they are doing it for others as well as they trying to improve things.
All week I have been around people who are involved in important and life-changing work in diabetes care. From those who are developing smarter devices, using data better, improving access and doing reseach, the dedication and commitment to improving the lives of people with diabetes has been very visibly on show at this conference.
And I have been reminded that at a conference where there are ground breaking announcements made and new and exciting tools launched, it is not the flashy conference centre and the lights of the Exhibit Hall that tell any of the story. It is years and years and years of work, of people plugging away and just doing what needs to be done, until the excitement of telling the world.
This morning, I walked around New Orleans with a delicious, embargoed secret in my head that I was bursting to shout from the rooftops. Some of the exciting work I have been involved in over the last few years has started seeing results and today’s announcement from ALP health spokesperson, Catherine King (no longer under embargo, hence me writing about it….and shouting it from the rooftops) is an example of what happens when people do the hard yards.
Australians now have bipartisan support for CGM funding. The ALP pledge goes further than the Coalition’s, with access under its scheme being based on clinical need – not just age. This mirrors the submission made by Diabetes Australia, JDRF, ADS, ADEA and APEG in our joint proposal. (Disclosure: I worked on the this submission as an employee of (initally Diabetes Victoria and) Diabetes Australia and am acting as spokesperson for Diabetes Australia in any media.)
Today, there will be press and a media launch and lights and excitement as there should be. This is worth celebrating! And as I sit in my hotel room 33 levels above Canal Street in New Orleans, speaking with Australian news radio staff about the announcmenet and I am incredibly proud of what we have managed to achieve in Australia. This is a slow burn. It takes time, it takes commitment and it takes dedication. I love being surrounded by people who have it in spades.