Hundreds of thousands of people with type 1 diabetes across the country can now get hold of a ‘life-changing’ gadget that keeps track of their blood sugars on the NHS.
These neat little glucose monitors are around the same size as a 50 pence piece and worn on the arm.
They measure levels from just under the skin before relaying the details to a mobile app – without having to scan or take a finger prick test.
Continuous glucose monitors are traditionally pricier than their flash monitor counterparts – which record glucose levels by scanning a sensor.
But since the NHS agreed on a new cost-effective deal with manufacturers Dexcom, they will now be available for NHS patients on prescription.
The monitor, called Dexcom ONE Real Time-Continuous Glucose Monitoring, is attached to the arm for up to ten days.
The NHS says patients will receive a starter pack detailing information on the product and usage, a sensor and transmitter from the hospital or GP surgery once prescribed, after which they can go to the pharmacy for their repeat prescription
The deal was struck after the health body smashed its target to make sure 20 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes were benefiting from flash monitors by March last year.
Recent data showed nearly three-fifths are already accessing the technology.
The widespread use of the gadget will aid diabetics to better manage their condition – slashing hospitalisations and associated diabetic illnesses which should ease pressure on an overstretched NHS.
‘My monitor changed my life’
Fifty-six-year-old Andy Lavender has been living with type 1 diabetes since he was just two years old.
Andy told the NHS: “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 continuous glucose monitor 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.”
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 NHS spends around £10 billion a year on treating diabetes, with the Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Programme aiming to prevent thousands of people from developing the illness and free up NHS resources in the long term.