Diabetic pupils call for better support

CHILDREN with diabetes have lobbied MPs at Parliament to improve the support they receive from their schools.

CHILDREN with diabetes have lobbied MPs at Parliament to improve the support they receive from their schools.

Thirty young people from the East of England were among a group of more than 200 who went to London for the organised by Diabetes UK which highlighted the postcode lottery of the way schools cater for diabetic pupils.

Some parents were even able to get firm commitments from their MPs, for example to write letters to the Department of Health or their local education authorities.

Ten-year-old Ashleigh Connell, a pupil at Kingsfleet Primary School, Felixstowe, was among those who travelled to London to tell MPs about how her life has improved since her school learned to support her condition.


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Her mother, Sarah-Jane Connell, said: “At first it wasn't so good because they had never had a diabetic child there, but now I can't fault them, they are absolutely fantastic.

“They give so much care and support for her, she is allowed to go into lunch first each day so that she is always having her meals at the same time. I think Ashleigh is one of the lucky ones.”

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Ashleigh, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes aged five, has a special room for injections and blood sugar monitoring, and is monitored by her teachers, who have taken time to learn about the condition.

And she has also decided to hold a charity day at her school tomorrow, hoping to raise £100 for Diabetes UK.

All pupils will be able to pay 50p to wear their jeans to school and the youngster will give a special assembly about the condition.

Sharon Tillbrook, Regional Manager of Diabetes UK said: “Children must have the most appropriate treatment for their diabetes and be properly supported in managing their condition.

“It is appalling that some children with diabetes in the East of England are not getting the support they need to live a full school life.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “I have spoken to one of the specialist schools and the general view is that in Suffolk, children with diabetes are well catered for.

“Because they are scattered across several schools, the trick is to get people at schools trained to look after them.”

n. Do you think enough is done in schools for children with diabetes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS

n. Just 22 per cent of schools where there are diabetic pupils have a medications policy and administer insulin.

This means parents either have to drive in to school every day, or change their children's injection times, meaning their health could suffer.

n. Parents have also told Diabetes UK about times their children have been made to eat lunch alone, inject insulin in school toilets and, in one case, wait outside the gates until a nurse arrived.

n. According to Diabetes UK, inequality in support for children with diabetes creates a health risk for 78 per cent of the region's 5 to eleven-year-olds, or an estimated 700 children.

n. About 2,000 children in the UK are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every year. If the condition is not managed effectively, it can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

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