Lack of access to technological treatments for diabetes in the NHS
Diabetes In The UK Smart technologies are now available to help people with diabetes take control of their condition and improve their quality of life. However, the availability of these technologies to people who genuinely deserve access remains low.
Flash Glucose monitoring needs more NHS progress
Many people with diabetes struggle and at times disengage from self-care, which is the most important way to take control of their lives.
On 13th September last year, it was announced that Flash Glucose monitoring will be made available on the NHS. Flash Glucose Monitoring can free people living with diabetes from the pain and rigour of frequent finger-prick testing and puts them in greater control of their condition. In doing so, it has the potential to help prevent a host of devastating long-term complications.
However, more than a year has passed since the announcement, and I ask, ‘What progress has been made?’ While several clinical commissioning groups have made this technology available to their patients, many other have dragged their feet, resulting in a postcode lottery system in England. Just across the border, in Scotland, the situation is entirely different, where a decision to fund this centrally means that this technology is being made available freely.
People with diabetes being denied life-changing technology?
A person with diabetes, who is treated with insulin injections, has to monitor their blood glucose on a daily basis minimum of four times a day. They will, on average, prick their fingers more than 20,000 thousand times if they have had diabetes for 20 years. Double that if you have diabetes for 40 years and you like to check your blood sugars more than four times a day. This is why many people with diabetes struggle and at times disengage from self-care, which is the most important way to take control of their lives.
20 years of blood glucose monitoring means pricking your finger 20,000 times.
Since announcement about Flash glucose monitoring by the NHS in September 2017, local access was left to those who commission diabetes service. What has followed is chaos, confusion, frustration and bewilderment among people with diabetes as to why they are being denied this life-changing technology. Is it just about the resources or a lack of understanding among local decision makers about the impact of this technology on quality of life of people with diabetes or just simply that “they” don’t care? It is time for HCPs to stand up and be counted and fight to ensure Flash glucose monitoring is freely available to those people with diabetes.
Insulin treated patients must speak to their GP
For several years, we have awaited technological developments that will provide people with diabetes (and healthcare professionals), the essential tools to better understand and manage this chronic condition. One of the most recent of these developments has been the non-invasive glucose monitoring, (Flash Glucose Monitoring FSL and Continuous Glucose Monitoring), which allows freedom from finger pricks and give people with diabetes a tool to see if their blood sugars are rising or falling. This amazing technology is still unavailable to many, despite it being recommended by the NHS.
I hope that raising awareness of these new technologies for people with diabetes can only be a good thing and will improve the current situation, which is far from satisfactory. I would urge all insulin treated patients to ask their specialist or GP if they are eligible or can benefit from these technologies.
The latest news, announced on World Diabetes Day
We look forward to April 2019 when, according to the the recent NHS England announcement, the FreeStyle Libre will be prescribed to everyone with type 1 diabetes who qualifies for the technology.