The Herald reports "Angry diabetics reject changes."
Well, some of them certainly seem angry, judging by the HoS letters page today (not online). Not just angry, either - one of them is "utterly devastated."
The reason for this anger and utter devastation is that Pharmac has decided to fund only one model of blood glucose meter, at a saving of ca $10 million p.a. (Ah - I see from that article I'm not only angry but worried and frightened as well.)
For the many out there unfamiliar with the banalities of type 1 diabetes, we have to manually regulate our blood sugar levels (the more usual automated biological system having shat itself in our cases). This manual regulation requires monitoring the level of glucose in your blood using an appropriate meter.
There is a range of such devices available, capitalism being the system it is an' all, but they all do basically the same thing: you put a drop of your blood on a test strip and the meter shows you a number, said number being your blood glucose level.
That being the case, a reasonable person might conclude that it really doesn't matter what make and model of meter you use, and if Pharmac can get a good price on a bulk deal for them and hand you one over completely gratis, courtesy of the long-suffering taxpayers of New Zealand, the proper course of action would be to thank them kindly and take one - or, of course, graciously decline the offer and purchase your preferred model and its ongoing supply of test strips your fuckin' own self.
Well, so you'd think. Except, Pharmac's been bunging you pretty much whichever one you happened to want completely gratis for ages, so for some diabetics this apparently looks a lot like a step backwards. Far from thinking "Hurrah! I still get a free blood glucose meter and subsidised test strips, and my generous sponsor the taxpayer saves $10 mil every year!", these people are feeling "angry," "worried" and "frightened." I almost wish Pharmac could strap these ingrates over a barrel so the aforementioned long-suffering taxpayers of New Zealand could queue up to give them a kick up the bum.
Hmm... OK, yes, perhaps I am feeling somewhat angry about this after all - just not in the way the Herald journos are imagining.