Cynon Valley Assembly Member Christine Chapman marked Diabetes Week by meeting people living with diabetes at the National Assembly’s Senedd building in Cardiff Bay on Wednesday 11 June. The annual event organised by Jenny Rathbone AM and Diabetes UK Cymru, offers an opportunity for people to meet with their local AM and discuss diabetes services in their area.
As part of this year’s Diabetes Week people across Wales haves shared their experiences of living with the condition. People who are affected by diabetes voiced their concerns about diabetes care in their area on a map of Wales, which was displayed at the event.
Ray Highton, 46, has Type 2 diabetes and is a member of Diabetes UK Cymru’s ‘Diabetes Voices’, a network of people who want to influence and improve diabetes care in Wales. He met with Christine Chapman AM and Health Minister Mark Drakeford to discuss the availability of mental health services for people who have been diagnosed with the condition.
Ray Highton, from Mountain Ash, said: “I am really pleased to have had the opportunity to discuss my concerns about the local services available to people living with diabetes in my area. It is vitally important that people who have been affected by the condition share their diabetes stories so that they can help to improve the health care that they, and others, receive.”
There are currently around 14,000 people who have diabetes in Rhondda Cynon Taf, while it’s estimated that there are 60,000 people living with diabetes but haven’t yet been diagnosed in Wales.
Dai Williams, National Director of Diabetes UK Cymru, said: “We want to thank all of the AMs and patients who attended this event. We are working hard with the Welsh Government to improve the care that people receive to help people living with diabetes to manage their condition. But, we’ll only know how successful we are being if we hear from patients about their experiences.
“More and more people in Wales are being diagnosed with diabetes and it is vital that their voices are being heard by their representatives. By taking the opportunity to share their stories people living with diabetes can really help raise awareness of the condition in Rhondda Cynon Taf and the impact it has on their lives.”