Thousands of people with diabetes across the UK are being denied access to technology which could significantly help improve their blood sugar levels, according to Diabetes UK.
The leading charity said getting Flash Glucose Monitoring technology on prescription is a “postcode lottery” and only certain areas are benefitting.
There is currently only one Flash Glucose Monitoring device on the market, the FreeStyle Libre, made by Abbott Diabetes Care, which was made available on the NHS in November 2017.
The FreeStyle Libre is considered by many experts to be a groundbreaking device. It provides glucose readings and trends whilst omitting the more traditional method of finger pricking, and has shown in studies to reduce hypoglycemia and improve blood sugar control.
Diabetes UK says 52 areas in England have decided not to allow the Libre to be made available. There are currently 38 clinical commissioning groups across England and nine health boards in Scotland which are reviewing their policies.
The regional discrepancies mean that areas close by, controlled by different health decision makers, vary on whether the technology is available. At the moment people in Sheffield have access, but not in nearby Wakefield. Again, the same is happening in the Midlands with Birmingham not offering the device, while Wolverhampton is.
Helen Dickens, assistant director of campaigns and mobilisation at Diabetes UK, said: “People’s health should not depend on an unfair postcode lottery. Everyone should be able to access the care and treatments necessary to safely manage their condition.
“Because Flash makes it easier to monitor and better control blood sugar levels, it improves lives, can save money, and reduces the risk of serious diabetes-related complications such as amputations and blindness.
“The NHS agreed to provide access in November, but people with diabetes have already been waiting for too long. Every area should now have a policy providing access to Flash for free on prescription, so that everyone who can benefit from it, will.”
Diabetes UK has been campaigning to make access to the technology more fair, and type 1 diabetes and technology charities JDRF and INPUT are also supporting the campaign.