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NHS England to fund flash glucose monitoring devices for all eligible diabetes patients

Eligible patients with type 1 diabetes will be able to get a flash glucose monitoring device on prescription in England from April 2019.

Freestyle Libre device

Source: Dr P. Marazzi / Science Photo Library

The Freestyle Libre device enables patients to have their glucose levels relayed electronically to a smart phone or e-reader

All patients with diabetes who qualify for a flash glucose monitoring device will be able to receive it on prescription from April 2019, NHS England has announced.

The Freestyle Libre device, which is the size of a £2 coin and sits on the arm, will enable patients with type 1 diabetes to do away with finger prick blood tests and instead see their glucose levels relayed electronically to a smart phone or e-reader.

The announcement comes after an investigation by The BMJ on 7 November 2018 revealed that tens of thousands of type 1 diabetes patients were missing out on the benefits of the device because some clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were offering it under more stringent criteria than others, creating a postcode lottery.

In a statement, NHS England said that up to 5% of patients with type 1 diabetes in England currently have access to Freestyle Libre but added that “if CCGs followed guidance correctly, this figure could eventually rise to at least 20–25%”.

NHS England has said it will invest up to £910 per year per patient to enable all eligible patients to access the device on prescription from their GP or diabetes team throughout the country from 1 April 2019.

“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,” said Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England.  

“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.”


Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205751

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