NHS patients in England with Type 1 diabetes will now be able to access life-changing continuous glucose monitors after a new deal was secured.
Continuous glucose monitors are traditionally more expensive than their flash monitor counterparts, but thanks to the NHS agreeing on a new cost-effective deal for the wearable arm gadget, patients will now be able to access them for a similar price.
The device sends information to a mobile app and enables diabetes patients to keep tabs on their glucose levels at all times without having to scan or take a finger prick test.
The monitor uses a sensor no bigger than a bottlecap that attaches to the patient’s arm for up to 10 days and records glucose levels from beneath the skin.
Diabetes patients will receive their starter packs – filled with information on the product, how to use it, a sensor and a transmitter – from their hospital or GP surgery once they’ve been prescribed.
Dr Partha Kar, National Speciality Advisor for Diabetes and Obesity said: “This is a huge step forward for Type 1 diabetes care and these monitors will be life-changing for anyone with the illness – giving them more choice to manage their condition in the most convenient way possible – as well as the best chance at living healthier lives, reducing their risk of hospitalisation and illnesses associated with diabetes, which in turn reduces pressure on wider NHS services.
“The new deal also delivers on our commitment to get patients the latest cutting-edge medical technology at the best value for taxpayer money – saving the NHS millions over the coming years.”
The deal comes after the NHS surpassed its initial Long Term Plan goal of ensuring at least 20% of people with Type 1 diabetes had access to flash monitors by March 2021, ahead of schedule. The latest statistics indicate that approximately 60% of people already have access to the technology.
This wider rollout will support diabetes patients in managing their condition, which will ultimately reduce hospitalisations and associated diabetic illness thus alleviating some of the pressure on the NHS at the moment.
Andy Lavender, a Live Well co-ordinator for the NHS and a local Chair for Diabetes UK, said: “I hope this will be the beginning of the end of people needing to draw blood several times a day to test their blood glucose. My CGM changed my life, I would test my bloods 14 times a day and now I just look at my smartphone and my blood glucose is there.
“I know many people won’t test blood glucose in public or in a coffee shop and they will go to the toilet to test, but now they can just glance at the screen. It’s less painful, less stressful and far better to control a condition that can be affected by so many things.”
The NHS spends around £10bn every year treating diabetes, with the Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Programme looking to stop thousands of people from developing the condition, subsequently freeing up NHS capacity and resources in the long term.
More information on the new deal is available here.