I have attended a number of events in Parliament that aimed to highlight the need for a cure for Type 1 diabetes and I have heard first hand from those who have this condition about the impact it has on their daily lives.
There are many local campaigners who I am committed to work alongside to raise awareness and Fife business man Gerard Eadie is a campaigner and fundraiser on this issue and is doing a lot of work in Fife and across Scotland to raise the key issues for policy makers and government.
I recently spoke in a debate in Parliament and both the video and the content of the speech is below.
Alex Rowley (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab):
I congratulate Clare Adamson on securing this members’ business debate on type 1 diabetes. I hope that we can agree a consensus across the chamber to raise awareness of the condition and of the work that is needed to drive forward research into a cure.
I, too, commend the work of the JDRF, whose passion and dedication to research and campaigning to find a cure for type 1 diabetes is exceptional. I am grateful for the comprehensive briefing that was provided by the JDRF, and particularly for the way in which it set out the issues that it wishes to form the basis for continuing discussion with the Parliament, with a focus on excellence in research and collaboration across northern Europe.
Last September I attended a meeting hosted by Anas Sarwar, where families affected by type 1 diabetes called on MSPs to raise awareness of the condition and to put Scotland at the forefront of type 1 diabetes research. It is valuable for politicians to hear testimonies of what the condition is actually like from those who must live with it.
I welcome the research that is being undertaken by the JDRF into curing, treating and preventing the condition. I hope that that work will help us to understand why the incidence of the condition is rapidly rising among children under the age of five in Scotland.
The approach that is being taken to foster collaboration between industry, academics and clinicians is welcome, and I hope that it proves successful in producing results that can improve the condition of those who live with type 1 diabetes.
The JDRF has shown that it wants to work with parliamentarians to target investment at type I diabetes research, reduce the bureaucracy that hinders that research, and improve the delivery of the research findings. I hope that members across the chamber can agree to work with the JDRF on those aims.
I welcome the additional funding of £10 million from the Scottish Government to fund more insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring equipment. It is a step in the right direction but we must continue to strive further to improve research into and treatment of type 1 diabetes. I hope that the Scottish Government will commit to safeguarding and fully funding the Scottish care information—diabetes collaboration database, which the JDRF describes as
“the jewel in the crown of Scotland’s arsenal to fight diabetes.”
The JDRF has also shown interest in a northern European area of excellence. We share a mutual interest with various Scandinavian countries such as Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, each of which is among the top ten countries in the world for type 1 incidence in children. There is an opportunity to enter discussions with those countries on shared interests in research.
It is clear from the dedicated campaigning work undertaken by the JDRF that there is a three-way approach to dealing with type 1 diabetes. There must be understanding, management and treatment of the condition. Parliament and all parliamentarians can take steps to progress that. Tonight’s debate alone is essential in raising awareness, particularly when we consider the fact that Scotland has the third-highest incidence of type 1 diabetes in the world. The debate will help to generate further understanding of the condition and hopefully will lead to further discussions on the management and treatment of type 1 diabetes.
I hope that we can continue to work together to support the world-leading research that is happening here in Scotland and, with political will alongside the work of leading industries, academia and clinicians, that we can eventually deliver a cure for type 1 diabetes.