Thousands of type-1 diabetics denied access to monitor

An investigation by the BMJ has revealed that thousands of type-1 diabetics in England are being denied access to a ‘life-changing’ blood sugar monitor due to a postcode lottery.

The Freestyle Libre, known to be used by Prime Minister Theresa May, was made available on the NHS last November, but the research finds that a quarter of local NHS groups in England were not recommending the devices for patients.

Using a sensor attached to the skin and allowing people to check their blood sugar levels by using the device with a portable reader or a smartphone app, flash glucose monitors reduce the need for finger-prick blood tests and can make it easier for diabetics to manage their own condition.

Based on the data collated by the BMJ, Partha Kar, NHS England's associate national clinical director for diabetes, estimates that only three-five per cent of patients with type-1 diabetes in England are currently able to get the monitors on the NHS. He said that this figure should be closer to 20-25 per cent, if CCGs were following NHS England guidance as they should.

Approximately 400,000 people in the UK are estimated to have type-1 diabetes. Freestyle Libre is the only flash glucose monitor available in the UK.

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