More people with type 1 diabetes set to benefit from blood sugar flash monitors through NHS roll-out
Half of people with type 1 diabetes in England now able to access blood glucose monitors.
Half of people living with type 1 diabetes in England are now benefiting from the use of “life-changing” flash monitors that allow them to check blood glucose levels more easily and regularly.
The roll-out of the device over the last year is paving the way for more people with type 1 diabetes to benefit and improve their self-management of the condition.
Health service chief executive Amanda Pritchard, patient groups and senior clinicians have welcomed the milestone, showing that the NHS is ahead of target to roll-out the monitors.
The independent health advisory board NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) confirmed it was beginning to consult on expanding access to the convenient and effective kit. The most recent figures show that around 125,000, or half, of patients living with type 1 diabetes in England, are now using these monitors to help control their condition.
The successful roll-out by NHS England has helped to inform the case for potential wider use of these technologies to benefit patients living with type 1 diabetes, and potentially those living with type 2 diabetes, as the health service continues to improve care for people with both forms of the condition. The NHS Long Term Plan included a target to ensure 20% of people with type 1 diabetes were benefiting from flash monitors by March 2021.
Figures for March showed the NHS significantly exceeded that goal, with the actual percentage of those benefiting hitting more than 45% – double the target, with uptake by July hitting half of eligible people.
Eligible patients are currently able to access the monitors on prescription from their local GP or diabetes team, helping them to better manage their blood sugar levels.
The wearable device has a sensor that attaches to the back of the arm, allowing people with type 1 diabetes to check their glucose quickly and easily with a simple one-second scan.
The monitors link to an easy-to-use app on your phone, where patients can access the data gathered by the device.
Unlike conventional blood glucose monitors they allow you to view patterns over time, not only showing current and previous levels but also where they’re headed.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS England chief executive, said: “Flash glucose monitoring is a great example of where technology and digital solutions can help individuals to live more independent lives, better manage their own conditions, and avoid more acute health problems developing.
“It is a testament to the hard work of NHS colleagues working across diabetes care that we have managed to roll out these devices to half of type 1 patients and that the real world data is helping to inform potential future service development in this area.”
Dr Partha Kar OBE, NHS England’s National Specialty Advisor for Diabetes and Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The high uptake in people with Type 1 diabetes is a clear example of the NHS’ commitment to improving care for people living with this condition and it’s down to the hard work of NHS staff that we’ve managed to roll these out at such a pace, smashing our target of offering to 20% of those eligible by March.
“I am delighted that NICE has started consulting on wider use of the technology and we thank them for working with us on this. We look forward to implementing the final recommendations from NICE, following the consultation period.”
Marcel Somerville, a member of hip hop group Blazin’ Squad, said: “When I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I was worried about managing the condition.
“Since I got my flash monitor, it has made life so much easier on a day-to-day basis as I know it will help me live with diabetes while getting on with everything I want to do. I’m very pleased to hear most people in England with type 1 feel the same way as I do.”
In a recent blog post, Dr Kar added: “It’s fabulous to see the doors opening for people with type 2 diabetes - and those on insulin - albeit with certain criteria. Otherwise a tax funded system designed to make things available for all can't do it and you open up an industry to those who can afford.
“Traditional CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) or flash glucose monitoring now being made available to anyone with type 1 diabetes is fabulous. It signals a fundamental change in how you look after your glucose levels and the end of finger prick testing for all. I cannot even begin to tell you of my delight and sheer joy to be at this stage - a stage when many parents won’t have to stay awake at night hoping that their child's sugars don't drop down - hating the auto-immune condition which has been thrust open them due to no fault of their own or their child and hoping for something to stop this daily routine.
A cure we can't give yet, but heck, we at the NHS should try everything we can to help such individuals live their life a bit better. And not just a child - anyone with type 1 diabetes. And every single person deserves what technology science provides to make life even a bit better.”
“We sit on the cusp of a whole new world.”