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Diabetes charity warns a ‘no deal’ Brexit could put lives at risk

By Editor
5th February 2019
Type 1 diabetes

A diabetes charity has slammed the Government saying it is “gambling with people’s health” amid concerns Brexit may impact on the availability of life-saving insulin supplies.

The InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT) has spoken out saying people with the condition using insulin “need guarantees about supply chains because their lives depend on insulin”.

Jenny Hirst, co-chair and co-founder of the organisation, said: “While everyone is getting sick of the whole Brexit debate, insulin-dependent people with diabetes will actually become seriously ill if a no-deal disruptions supply of the life-saving drug.

“MPs need to realise that they are gambling with people’s health. The party political games, the Tory euro infighting, the jousting for the top jobs, it all needs to stop. They all just need to come together to agree a deal to avoid any disruption to essential supplies.”

‘Clear assurances’

Earlier this month the subject was discussed in the House of Lords with Baroness Mandoor admitting she could not “give copper-bottomed guarantees” that those with diabetes would still have access to insulin after March 29, when the UK is due to leave the EU.

Jenny added: “This is just not good enough, because people with diabetes need guarantees. Their lives depend on insulin. Our members need to know the Government is treating continued insulin supplies as a priority.

“They need clear assurances that everyone with insulin dependent diabetes in the UK will receive the medication they need to stay alive.

“For over 15 years, the IDDT has been collecting unwanted, in-date insulin to send to help people with diabetes in developing countries where people die for lack of insulin. Never did we think that people with diabetes in the UK would have to face the threat of lack of insulin and the subsequent consequences of this.”

According to the IDDT, there are around 421,000 people with type 1 diabetes and round 150,000 people with type 2 diabetes who require insulin to control their condition.

The Northampton-based charity provides vital independent support for people with diabetes, their parents and carers throughout the country.

The charity formed in 1994 to fight for choice of insulin for all. It now provides a free, confidential helpline, has published dozens of helpful publications, stages events and lobbies the government on behalf of its members.

Comments (1)

  1. Irene Stratton says:

    Not everyone is getting sick of the “whole Brexit debate”. Many of us in the NHS and certainly in the world of diabetes have been doing all we can for the past two and a half years to try to stop this madness.
    On the morning the result of the referendum was announced I, along with maybe 20 other UK researchers, was at a meeting of about 200 members of EASDEC – the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Eye Complications group. We sat at breakfast, some of us in tears, not knowing how this vote would have an impact on our collaborative work. There are few researchers in diabetic eye disease in the UK and we need to work with our friends in the EU27. We are at the forefront of this work and surely, as well as getting research money from the EU, we should be working to reduce the risk of needless vision loss through diabetes in parts of the EU where diabetic eye disease is more prevalent as they do not have systematic screening? For me the EU is about working with our EU neighbours, not about how much we put in and how much we get out.

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