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.
With the HSE Cyber breach still preventing answers to Parliamentary Questions from public representatives and the Dail going into summer recess, we have postponed our “call to action” where we will be asking members of the diabetes community to contact their local representatives on the issue(s) most relevant to them until late August/early September as the Dail resumes.
However, Diabetes Ireland contacted all TDs and Senators on Wednesday 14 July on behalf of our community asking them to make representations on all these issues on our behalf. Some of our active volunteers groups also followed up locally with their own local representatives. In late August/early September, we will need your help to highlight these issues once again in advance of the upcoming budget.
Please note there are many other important issues we plan to highlight and advocate for implementation and we will be working with all stakeholders to do this in a strategic way going forward.