NHS to offer better access to glucose monitors for diabetes patients

14 November 2018 (Last Updated November 22nd, 2018 11:24)

National Health Service (NHS) England has announced expanded access to glucose monitors for tens of thousands of people living with type 1 diabetes from April next year.

NHS to offer better access to glucose monitors for diabetes patients
Abbott’s Freestyle Libre glucose monitoring device eliminates the need for finger pricks. Credit: WundermanWiki.

National Health Service (NHS) England has announced expanded access to glucose monitors for tens of thousands of people living with type 1 diabetes from April next year.

The move comes after a recent investigation revealed that patients in some parts of the country are missing out on glucose monitoring devices.

“At present, only 3-5% of type 1 diabetes patients in England have access to Freestyle Libre, even though 20-25% of patients are eligible.”

Abbott’s Freestyle Libre is the only glucose monitoring system available in the UK. The wearable device sends glucose levels to a smartphone or e-reader, and eliminates the need for finger prick testing.

At present, only 3-5% of type 1 diabetes patients in England have access to Freestyle Libre, even though 20-25% of patients are eligible.

NHS stated that it plans to make the glucose monitor available on prescription for all qualifying patients in order to help them better manage blood sugar levels.

NHS England Diabetes associate national clinical director Partha Kar said: “This is an exciting and welcome step forward as the aim is to have uniform prescribing policy across the NHS, irrespective of where someone with type 1 diabetes lives.”

Freestyle Libre will be funded under next year’s funding growth for local health groups that will provide access to flash monitoring across the country.

The health service noted that 144 of 195 clinical commissioning groups have already signed up to support the initiative.

Diabetes UK chief executive said: “Today’s announcement is a huge step forward, and will be welcome news to the many thousands of people with type 1 diabetes whose lives will now be changed for the better by access to flash glucose monitoring.

“Once in place, these measures should mean an end to the variation in availability and the postcode lottery that have dogged access to this life-changing technology.”

More than three million people are currently diagnosed with diabetes in England, of which 300,000 are estimated to have type 1 diabetes.