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World Diabetes Day 14 November 2022 – Access To Diabetes Care

World Diabetes Day, 14th November marks the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922. Today also marks 100yrs, 9 months and 1 day ago when Leonard Thompson received the first successful injection of insulin. We have come a long way since these early years of insulin discovery. Despite this, millions of people with diabetes worldwide still do not have access to recommended diabetes care, including in New Zealand. The New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD) supports the International Diabetes Federation’s theme for World Diabetes Day: Access to Diabetes Care and is urging greater investment in diabetes care to ensure everyone living with diabetes can access the care and technology they need.

All people with diabetes require access to diabetes education and ongoing support. Many people also require medication and access to technology to manage their condition and avoid complications. Sadly, in New Zealand not all those with diabetes have access to the technologies that could improve their diabetes and quality of life. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is one such technology. Dr Rosemary Hall, Endocrinologist and President of the New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes, says “CGM allows people with diabetes to constantly know what their blood glucose levels are without the need to prick their fingers for a blood sample numerous times a day or night”. Research consistently demonstrates that blood glucose control and quality of life improves when those with diabetes use CGM. Dr Hall adds that “CGM also helps people to better understand their diabetes and importantly provides life-changing improvements in quality of life for people with diabetes, their whānau, and especially for parents of children with type 1 diabetes.”

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Currently CGMs are not funded in New Zealand. This means that those who can afford to purchase their own CGM are able to use this technology and those who cannot afford to purchase a CGM, yet would benefit, miss out. The result is that only a few people in New Zealand are able to continuously use CGM.

Our neighbours in Australia have public funding for CGMs for citizens with Type 1 diabetes, and New Zealanders should be offered the same. Access to subsidised CGM for people with Type 1 diabetes has clearly been shown to be cost-effective compared with the New Zealand situation of user pays. “It is outrageous that a small number of people with diabetes in Aotearoa can access first class technology while the divide between those that can’t widens. This is inequitable and unacceptable” Dr Hall says.

About the New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD):

The NZSSD is an incorporated society that is open to those involved in the care of people with diabetes. Its members include diabetes specialist physicians, nurse practitioners, diabetes specialist nurses, podiatrists, dietitians, scientists, ophthalmologists, general practitioners, community health workers and researchers.

The NZSSD is the national advisory body and leading diabetes clinical network on clinical and scientific matters. The NZSSD's objectives are to promote the study of diabetes and the best standards of care of diabetes in Aoteoroa New Zealand.


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