More than 6,000 people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes across the South East 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 to a minimum of 50,000 people with the illness, over half of the people eligible (nationally), 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 have the monitors on prescription, regardless of where they live in the country.
New data revealed today shows the early success of the scheme across the South East, with 6,231 patients now in receipt of monitors 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 in Parliament yesterday and celebrating the success, Prof Partha Kar, NHS National Specialty Advisor, Diabetes, who works as a consultant in Diabetes & Endocrinology in the South East, 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.
20-year-old student Charlotte Burden from Sussex, who has Type 1 diabetes, started using an NHS-funded monitor in May. She said:
“Flash glucose monitoring (Freestyle Libre) has revolutionised how I look after my diabetes. At this point in my life, no single day is the same as I juggle my final year at university, working, travelling, socialising and exercising. Before I had the monitor, it was difficult to find the time to check and keep up with the changes in my blood glucose. Now, checking my blood glucose is as quick as checking my phone (thanks to the awesome phone app). Libre’s trend lines help me keep up in real time with my changing glucose levels and subsequently my blood glucose stability and HCA1c has massively improved.
“ I can honestly say that having this equipment funded by the NHS has massively changed my life. This new device has made it possible for me to do things I otherwise wouldn’t have done, like running my first half marathon for type 1 research (JDRF) in September 2019. Ultimately, not only has my diabetes improved, but my mental health and quality of life along with it.”
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.
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.
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