The province has instituted Pharmacare coverage for insulin pumps that monitor diabetics’ blood glucose levels. Wikimedia Commons

The province has instituted Pharmacare coverage for insulin pumps that monitor diabetics’ blood glucose levels. Wikimedia Commons

Access to diabetic equipment great, but shortage of specialists troubling

Reader applauds government move, but wait times to see doctors a roadblock to receiving monitors

Re: Insulin pumps to be covered for adult diabetics in B.C., June 12

Kudos to the NDP government for extending B.C. Pharmacare support for continuous monitoring insulin pumps to all BC diabetic adults.

This wise policy decision will result in immediate health benefits for British Columbians who suffer from diabetes, and a long-term cost saving to the B.C. health care system through reduced diabetic neuropathy, eye and heart disease, and limb amputations due to the deleterious effects of improperly-managed diabetic blood sugar levels.

But to qualify, a person with diabetes must be recommended to the program by an endocrinologist or diabetes expert. That’s a major problem: even if registered with one, it takes up to six months to book an appointment given the few endocrinologists available.

I understand that in Victoria alone, due to retirement or maternity leave, recently there were only four actively practising endocrinologists, a number completely inadequate to meet by the growing need for urgent diabetic services.

The situation is even worse in rural areas.

It’s wonderful that the B.C. government has extended support for these vital modern monitoring devices. But without the ability to access the program due to lack of access to medical specialists, too many British Columbians will have to wait for these vital medical devices, and suffer the consequences of improperly managed diabetes.

Stuart Hertzog

Victoria

Diabetes