Call to Action: Inclusion of Women with Gestational Diabetes to the LTI Scheme

Diabetes Ireland has launched its 2022 Pre-budget submission and is proposing 8 immediate actions for implementation which will improve the quality of life for over 225,000 people living with diabetes and reduce the long term costs of preventable diabetes complications. The submission is focused on a range of deliverable actions that are person-centred, cost effective and builds on existing HSE commitments to tackle chronic conditions including diabetes.

 

One of these Actions is the Inclusion of Women with Gestational Diabetes to the LTI Scheme

Gestational Diabetes on LTI

 

Inclusion of women with Gestational Diabetes under the Long-Term Illness scheme for the duration of pregnancy

Diabetes Ireland is calling on the government to include women with Gestational Diabetes (GDM) on the Long-Term Illness (LTI) Scheme for the duration of pregnancy. Since a decision by the then government in 2013/14, women who develop Gestational diabetes (GDM) are no longer entitled to reimbursement for blood glucose test strips under the long-term illness scheme and if they do not have a GMS card, they are required to pay for their blood glucose strips themselves, costing up to €114 per month, the maximum amount under the drugs payment scheme. Many women cannot afford this additional, unforeseen cost which can impede the delivery of best -practice care for women with GDM.

 

Each year in Ireland approximately 7,440 women develop GDM. The International Diabetes Federation reports that one in six (16.8%) pregnancies are affected by diabetes worldwide and the majority (86.4%) are classified as GDM. Figures generally point towards an increase in prevalence by 10–100% over the past 30 years.

 

Women with GDM are at higher risk of developing serious complications such as pre-eclampsia, perineal trauma, or emergency caesarean delivery. Infants of women with GDM are at increased risk of higher birth weight with associated complications such as neonatal hypoglycaemia, jaundice, birth trauma and even stillbirth. Due to these higher risks and associated complications it essential that women with GDM monitor their blood glucose levels frequently during their pregnancy so that they and their diabetes team can individualise their treatment safely and appropriately.

 

The mainstay of treatment for GDM is lifestyle intervention and this is highly effective in some women. However, for many women, lifestyle changes are not sufficient, and they require insulin and extra monitoring of blood glucose levels. Diabetes Ireland and The National Clinical Programme for Diabetes requests eligibility for reimbursement of Blood Glucose Test Strips to all women with GDM for the duration of their pregnancy.

 

Diabetes Ireland contacted all TDs and Senators on Wednesday 14 July on behalf of our community asking them to make representations on this and the other issues contained in our Pre-budget submission. Some of our active volunteers’ groups also followed up locally with their own local representatives. We are now asking you to Act. We need your help to highlight this issue once again in advance of the upcoming budget.

Call for Action: What Can I do?  

  1. Copy the template below into an email and if you wish add your personal story and reasons why this problem matters to you.
  2. Find your local TD’s (constituency) https://www.oireachtas.ie/
  3. Send your email to your local politicians.

Email/Letter Template 

Dear (INSERT NAME OF TD)

I am a constituent and regular voter in your area.

I/my wife/partner developed gestational diabetes (GDM) during my/her pregnancy. I/She received care in [INSERT WHERE DID YOU RECEIVE YOUR GESTATIONAL DIABETES CARE]. While I/she was pregnant, I/she had to pay for my/her medications.  (You can write your personal story and the reason why you would like to highlight this particular issue to a politician)

 

Diabetes Ireland is calling on the government to include women with Gestational Diabetes (GDM) on the Long-Term Illness (LTI) Scheme for the duration of pregnancy. Since a decision by the then government in 2013/14, women who develop Gestational diabetes (GDM) are no longer entitled to reimbursement for blood glucose test strips and insulin under the long-term illness scheme and if they do not have a GMS card, they are required to pay for their blood glucose strips and insulin themselves. Many women cannot afford this additional, unforeseen cost which can impede the delivery of best -practice care for women with GDM.

 

Women with GDM are at higher risk of developing serious complications such as pre-eclampsia, perineal trauma, or emergency caesarean delivery. Infants of women with GDM are at increased risk of higher birth weight with associated complications such as neonatal hypoglycaemia, jaundice, birth trauma and even stillbirth. Due to these higher risks and associated complications, I am writing to you to ask for your support by asking the Minister for Health to include women who develop gestational diabetes to be covered under the long-term illness scheme, or any other financial scheme that removes the out-of-pocket burden, to protect women and their children in the future.

 

Parliamentary Questions:

  1. To ask the Minister for Health if he will extend eligibility to the Long-Term Illness scheme for reimbursement of blood glucose test strips (insulin and metformin) to all women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy; does he agree with the decision to remove them from the scheme and will he now reverse that decision and if he will make a statement on the matter.
  1. To ask the Minister for Health the number of women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy in each of the years 2021,2020, 2019 and 2018 and if he will make a statement on the matter.

For more detailed information about this issue, please see : https://www.diabetes.ie/advocacy-call-to-action/inclusion-of-women-with-gestational-diabetes-to-the-lti-scheme/

Thank you for your time in considering my request.

I hope to hear from you in due course.

 

Yours sincerely,

Your Name, Address, Email

 

To read the full Pre Budget Submission, click here.

Please note there are many other important issues we plan to highlight and advocate for going forward. implementation and we will be working with all stakeholders to do this in a strategic way.

Our advocacy work is important in giving our diabetes community a voice to be heard

To read the next call to action for access to Education and Insulin Pumps for Adults, click here.