The Freestyle Libre, a wearable sensor for blood sugar monitoring, will be available on the NHS from April 2019.
NHS England has announced that the Freestyle Libre, a wearable sensor designed for continuous blood sugar monitoring, will be available on prescription from April 2019.
Presently only 4% of patients with Type 1 diabetes in England have access to Freestyle Libre as clinical commissioning groups have been reluctant to foot the bill.
The wearable sensor, which is the size of a £2 coin and sits on the arm, does away with the need for inconvenient and sometimes painful finger prick blood tests by relaying glucose levels to a smart phone or e-reader.
From April 2019, NHS England will ensure the device is available on prescription for all patients with type 1 diabetes and who qualify for it in line with NHS clinical guidelines.
‘Life improving technology’.
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Increasingly the NHS is going to be offering patients this sort of technology to help them more easily manage their own long term health problem. In the NHS of the future, for many conditions you’re going to get NHS support direct from your smartphone or wearable device rather than having to trek to regular hospital outpatient appointments. Supporting people with modern tools to manage conditions such as Type 1 diabetes is about to become much more widespread. Innovations such as these also free up time and resources for the NHS as a whole.”
Adding; “As the NHS prepares to put digital health and technology at the heart of our long term plan for the future, NHS England is taking important action so that regardless of where you live, if you’re a patient with Type 1 diabetes you can reap the benefits of this life improving technology.”
‘Gold standard care’.
Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said: “Today’s announcement is a huge step forward, and will be welcome news to the many thousands of people with Type 1 diabetes whose lives will now be changed for the better by access to Flash Glucose Monitoring. Once in place, these measures should mean an end to the variation in availability and the postcode lottery that have dogged access to this life-changing technology.
“This decision demonstrates that the NHS is seizing the opportunities presented by new technology, but also that it has listened to the voices of many thousands of people living with and affected by diabetes across the UK. Everyone who has called for fair and equitable access to this technology – through both funding and eligibility criteria – should feel rightly proud that they been heard today.
“The diabetes crisis is a fight that must be fought on many fronts, and Diabetes UK will continue to champion access to new and established technology – and gold standard care – wherever variation and inaccessibility exist.”