Diabetes patients denied new device in ‘postcode lottery’ rollout

Tens of thousands of people living with type 1 diabetes in England are being refused access to devices that could improve lives, an investigation has revealed, with experts claiming that the situation amounts to a “postcode lottery”.

About 400,000 people in the UK have type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune condition where the body does not produce insulin, leading to glucose not being taken up by cells and potentially reaching dangerously high levels in the blood.

Flash glucose monitoring devices involve a sensor, about the size of a £2 coin, that is attached to the upper arm and constantly measures the level of glucose in the fluid around cells in the body, rather than in the blood, by means of fibres that sit under the skin.

The devices have theoretically been available on the NHS for just over a year, following advice that they could improve peoples lives and lead to money being saved, although clinical commissioning groups can develop their own policies about funding for the technology. NHS England has advised that the system should be prescribed only to patients meeting certain criteria, including currently undertaking very frequent monitoring of their blood glucose levels, or having a number of admissions to hospital as a result of low blood sugar or other complications.

Full story The Guardian, 8 November 2018