Aug 6 2012 By Robert Cumber
Katie Carnie with her daughter Olivia 5 at home, Byfield Rd, Isleworth
A LACK of support for the growing number of youngsters in Hounslow with type 1 diabetes is jeopardising their long-term health, a mother has warned.
Katie Carnie, of Byfield Road, Isleworth, knows only too well how difficult it can be for very young children with the disease to monitor their condition at school.
Her five-year-old daughter Olivia was diagnosed with the condition three years ago and the 34-year-old has spent most of that time fighting a losing battle for better care.
A total of 280 people signed her petition calling for more support at primary schools for children checking their blood glucose levels and injecting insulin.
She wants trained staff available at schools full-time to supervise children with type 1 diabetes.
“Diabetic children need an adult to help support them. Without this care, they are being put at a great disadvantage. Their well-being is at risk as well as their future health,” she said. “If children are left to manage their diabetes themselves, they tend to take too much insulin which sends them into a coma. If left untreated it could prove fatal.”
Ms Carnie, who runs a baby-sitting service for diabetic children, described her battle for support as ‘painful’.
She claimed she had been passed from ‘pillar to post’, with neither the NHS nor the council willing to pay.
Responding to the petition, Councillor Steve Curran, cabinet member for education, said there was funding available to support children with diabetes.
However, he admitted some children might be ‘falling through the net’ due to discussions between the council and the NHS about who was responsible for funding.
Type 1 diabetes is a relatively rare long-term condition which leads to an excess of glucose in the blood because the body is unable to produce insulin.
It is important the condition is properly managed to prevent complications, like heart disease and blindness, developing later in life.
About 2,000 children a year in the UK are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, according to Diabetes UK.
A spokesman for West Middlesex Hospital, which is responsible for diabetic care in the borough, said parents were given specialist advice about how to manage their child’s diabetes as soon as it had been diagnosed.
A diabetic specialist nurse would also visit the child’s school, he said, to show designated staff how to look out for and treat ‘hypo’ episodes caused by low blood sugar and how to carry out finger prick tests and administer insulin.
“The trained school staff are also given access to a dedicated phone helpline to the diabetic team and the diabetic specialist nurse will also visit the school daily at lunchtime to supervise school staff to carry out care until they are competent and confident to do this alone,” he added.