I am luckily enough to live in the United Kingdom. As a result I am very thankful for the NHS and the excellent health care I receive as a result. I am more than aware of the cost of my test strips, it is now printed on my prescription, and am eternally grateful to the NHS for funding my diabetes care. I may be asked every time I go to the doctors to switch to a more cost effective brand of test strips, yet the NHS is paying for my insulin. Recently insulin prices have been increased by Humalog. Luckily, I am unaffected. However what about the crumbling NHS? I am very respectful of the fact I receive free prescriptions. If I can easily buy hay-fever tablets, paracetamol or what ever else is prescribed to me in a chemist then I will. I understand the NHS is under pressure and their spending on Diabetes and other chronic illnesses is increasing. I hope that the NHS will continue to be protected and funding cuts do not have a detrimental effect to those with diabetes. Living in the U.K. and receiving excellent care as a result, without having to use insurance, or swipe a credit card when I enter a hospital is something that I am truly grateful for.
However as a Type 1 Diabetic with very good control this does involves additional spending on my behalf. Especially if I want to achieve a level of control which will hopefully prevent long term complications. I spend a minimum of £1200 per year on continuous glucose monitoring. Be it funding the Freestyle Libre or Dexcom. I am self-funding as unfortunately my control is seen as “too good” to qualify for NHS funding. I am in a fortunate position where I have no dependents, work full time and as a result can afford the expenditure. Yes I have to skimp elsewhere. I do not work in a high paid job. Yet I believe that investing in my health instead of a holiday is something that at this moment in time is a priority for me.
The monetary cost of chronic illness is easy to calculate – I simply look back through my bank statements. I could use a mileage calculator to work out travel to hospital ( a four hour round trip in a car) but, what about the other costs? Do we ever look at the mental cost? The long term cost to our health? Is it time to consider the other costs? The cost of a chronic illness is always going to be something that impacts upon life.