Let me start by saying that this wasn't going to be what my next blog post was going to be about. I was going to write one about the pump upgrade and the starting of secondary school, but this got me rattled this afternoon, those posts will come but after I have got this off my chest.
I want to point out that this is not a post bashing the NHS, as many of you will know I have worked within the NHS for 20 years and we are lucky to have it. I also want to point out that I do not expect everyone in the medical profession to know everything about diabetes, both type 1 and type 2. There are so many medical conditions out there that it would be foolish to expect everyone to know. However, what I do expect, is for them to be able to carry out basic maths.
Both the boys in my life have type 1 diabetes, my husband is on injections (mdi) and has been for the last 23 years, my son has an insulin pump. The problem we have with test strips is that the surgery will only prescribe my husband 2 pots a month, 100 test strips. NICE guidance states that on mdi you should test a minimum of five times a day, six for those on pumps. I've taken that to mean test on waking, before breakfast, lunch, dinner and before bed. So taking into account that they are the only times he tests, and that a month is classed as 30 days he would need 150 strips, 3 pots. They are under prescribing by a pot a month. This is without taking into consideration any hypos, or illnesses that may occur. Now, my son fairs slightly better with 4 pots a month, 200 test strips, double the amount that my husband gets. Like I've said previously NICE guidance states a minimum of six times a day. The problem is Samuel is 12 and has just started secondary school, he needs to additionally test when he gets to school, before PE, after PE, at the end of the day before he walks home and at any other time he feels unwell. Also, he needs a pot for the machine he carries on him at all times, the spare machine in school and the one at home. Now, I know that I failed my A level maths but I know that that comes to more than 200.
I realise that the NHS needs to save money, and that the test strips are quite expensive but the alternative would cost the NHS far more. Without adequate testing complications can occur, these include, blindness, kidney damage, nerve damage and more.
So, my message to the pharmacist today who told me that we test far too much is this....
We could do this my way and you give me strips which I ask for so I can keep my boys safe, or, we can do it your way. We will test for 10 days, then we will run out and be unable to test. We won't be able to give the correct doses of insulin, and the chances are my boys will end up in DKA. Then you can tell me whilst they are in hospital fighting for their lives, or worse over their dead bodies that we test too much!