Tens of thousands given life changing diabetes monitors thanks to the NHS Long Term Plan

Nearly 30,000 people across the country with Type 1 diabetes have received life-changing diabetes monitors through the NHS Long Term Plan.

The innovative device, which is the size of a £2 coin and worn on the arm, means people with Type 1 do not have to carry out multiple painful finger-prick checks to monitor their blood sugar levels.

Instead, people with the condition can monitor their blood sugar levels in a much more convenient way, making it easier for people to manage their blood sugar levels.

People with Type 1 diabetes who have low blood sugar levels are at risk of hypoglycaemia, which can involve seizures and a loss of consciousness.

Those with high blood sugar levels can be at risk of serious long term health conditions, such as blindness and heart problems if left untreated.

Ahead of schedule in delivering the NHS Long Term Plan commitment a minimum of 50,000 people with the illness, over half of the people eligible are already in possession of the device within the first three months.

This follows changes made in April which meant people eligible are able to get them on prescription, regardless of where they live in the country.

New data revealed today shows the early success of the scheme funded by the NHS Long Term Plan with 28,453 patients in receipt of monitors and 177,521 monitors prescribed within the first three months.

The NHS is writing to local leaders to ensure this rapid uptake continues, medical directors are being urged to further build on the successful rollout to ensure people across the country reap the benefits of the life changing technology.

There are over 250,000 people with Type 1 diabetes in England, tens of thousands of which have already benefitted from the rapid roll out of the technology since April.

Speaking today in Parliament celebrating the success, Prof Partha Kar, NHS National Specialty Advisor, Diabetes, said: “Providing flash monitors on the NHS is a huge leap forward and it is fantastic to see the roll out make an instant impact, this is another example of how the NHS is making sure patients can benefit from the latest technologies.

“I’m thrilled with how many people are already benefitting from the device and doing away with inconvenient finger-prick checks, less than a year into delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan, tens of thousands of people are experiencing first-hand the difference that cutting edge treatments on the NHS are making for people living with Type 1 diabetes across the country.”

The NHS Long Term Plan also commits to rolling out continuous glucose monitors from April 2020 for every pregnant woman with Type 1 diabetes, in its latest step to harness the power of digital technology.

23-year-old Olivia from a seaside town in Essex was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes aged seven. She started using an NHS-funded monitor in April. She said:

“I’d never considered that a device like a glucose monitor, where you don’t need to finger prick to know what your levels are, would be developed in my lifetime, it hadn’t even crossed my mind! I can’t quite believe something so small has had such an impact on managing my diabetes.

“Since using the monitor, I’ve seen a huge improvement in my blood sugar levels as I can make informed decisions when taking my insulin by looking at trends. Above all, it’s helped me have more confidence and improved my mental well-being, I find it easier to sleep knowing that my blood sugar is stable before I go to bed and I can confidently get in my car and drive off knowing I’m at a safe level to drive and my sugars aren’t dropping.”

People who qualify for the monitor include:

  • People with type 1 diabetes who need intensive monitoring (more than 8 times every day) as demonstrated in a review over the past 3 months.
  • People with diabetes associated with Cystic Fibrosis on insulin.
  • Pregnant women with Type 1 Diabetes for 12 months in total.
  • People with Type 1 diabetes unable to routinely self-monitor blood glucose due to disability.
  • People with Type 1 diabetes for whom the specialist diabetes MDT determines have occupational or psychosocial circumstances that warrant a 6-month trial of Libre with appropriate support.

Prevention Minister, Jo Churchill said: “It is fantastic that tens of thousands of patients are already benefitting from the rollout of the latest wearable health technology, part of this government’s commitment to increase funding to support the NHS Long Term Plan.

“We are putting the power back in the hands of people with Type 1 diabetes, so they can more easily manage their condition, from their smart phone. I look forward to these numbers growing, as more people are empowered to use this innovative technology to improve their quality of life.”

The NHS Long Term Plan also sets out world leading action to help people with Type 2 diabetes, including doubling capacity of the Diabetes Prevention Programme so 200,000 people a year can benefit along with trialling new very low calorie diets.