You might have seen recent newspaper reports about a young girl who was reportedly denied a school trip to the cinema which was afforded to pupils with high attendance, due to a medical appointment related to her type 1 diabetes.
JDRF’s UK Chief Executive, Karen Addington penned a letter to the media on this story. Read Karen’s letter below:
Type 1 diabetes is a tough and unrelenting condition. People with type 1 diabetes, whilst able to lead fulfilling lives, don’t get days off from managing their blood glucose levels and injecting insulin.
Olivia Harkins, the young schoolgirl from Liverpool who was reportedly denied a school trip to the cinema due to a medical appointment related to her type 1 diabetes, doesn’t get a day off from living with it and managing it.
As a seven-year-old dealing with a serious condition, she requires vital medical checks. A child diagnosed at the age of five can need more than 19,000 insulin injections before their 18th birthday.
People with type 1 diabetes need at least eight annual health checks, to help them stay healthy. But a recent audit found fewer than two in five people with type 1 diabetes were receiving their eight annual checks.
If the 29,000 children in the UK living with type 1 diabetes face even more barriers to prevent them from having their vital checks, their health is at risk.
If the reports are true, then JDRF agrees with Olivia’s parents – she was discriminated against by her school. Her head teacher has apparently explained that the school’s policy is children should not miss lessons ‘unless it is absolutely necessary’. Type 1 diabetes is unavoidable and health checks are absolutely necessary.
Karen Addington, UK Chief Executive of the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF