Diabetes & Me At The National Assembly for Wales

As this week is Diabetes Week in the UK I was invited to the National Assembly for Wales, which is where our government resides, to speak to Assembly Members (AMs). To represent young people with diabetes and to talk about what it's like to live with the condition in Wales. The event was organised by Diabetes UK and was a great chance also to meet other people living with diabetes from all around Wales. Some people had travelled from the far corners of North Wales to be at the Assembly toda, some from Brecon in the middle of the country and myself and one or two others from the South.

Diabetes UK State of the Nation Report

The event began at midday so that Assembly Members could come and meet us between their sessions in the debating chamber. The program started with an opening speech from Dai Williams who is the Director for Diabetes UK in Wales. Assembly members started arriving and we each got the opportunity to speak to them, especially those from our local constituencies. Which was an important thing to do because it enabled us to show Ministers the face of the condition of diabetes. As often in the press, the 'cost' or 'burden' of diabetes on the NHS can be discussed. But I think that it's important to show and tell Ministers the complexity of the condition and the difference that having the right treatment options, whether that be an insulin pump or the right number of blood testing strips can make.

Assembly Members and Diabetes Patient Advocates

My local Assembly Member representative was Julie Morgan, who was lovely to speak to and took a real interest in what I had to say about what it's like to live with diabetes. Minister Morgan asked me about my diagnosis of diabetes which was 14 years ago, and the symptoms that I experienced that lead us to the condition. I was given the opportunity to talk about the issues that I feel are affecting young people with diabetes in my area. So I did my best to convey the fact that although type 1 and type 2 diabetes have similarities. In many ways they're worlds apart, in terms of treatment for example. In order to raise awareness leading towards quicker diagnosis and to get the appropriate amount of medication needed to treat the conditions. They need to be treated as two conditions with their own individually recognised needs. The Minister was very supportive and I felt that she listened to what I had to say. The other thing I felt that it was important to discuss was the role that sport has played in my life in helping me take control and empowering me to manage my diabetes. Many people are talking about education and exercise being the key, especially where type 2 diabetes is concerned, in preventing the condition and after diagnosis, helping people live healthy lives. As I train in the majority at a council run facility I appreciate how lucky we are in my area that firstly we have access to these types of facilities and secondly that they're at a price everyone can afford.

Myself and My Local Assembly Member Julie Morgan

The Minister for Health Mark Drakeford also came to speak to us at the event and gave a speech about where he feels the future of diabetes lies, in terms of the government's role in supporting people with the condition. Minister Drakeford spoke about the health challenges that are currently facing us in Wales. According to Diabetes UK Cymru's report entitled State of the Nation, there appears to be an evolving epidemic of people being diagnosed with obesity and also diabetes. Minister Drakeford spoke about the needlessness of late diagnosis' and that information and education are key in the battle against diabetes. In addition to the choices available for people to make, is the importance of the role of dietitians in guiding and supporting people to make the right lifestyle choices.

Minister for Health Mark Drakeford

The event today was a very positive one and I hope that in giving people with diabetes the opportunity to speak to the Ministers about what it's like to live with diabetes in Wales, life will get easier for people to manage their conditions, in terms of medical support, structured education and availability of medical supplies.













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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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