NHS England has secured a new cut-price deal that ensures that all Type 1 diabetes patients are now eligible for cutting-edge continuous glucose monitoring technology.
The groundbreaking deal follows the announcement that the NHS exceeded its initial Long Term Plan goal of ensuring that 20% of people with Type 1 diabetes had flash monitors by May 2021, with data showing that around three-fifths are already utilising the technology. Increased access to continuous glucose monitoring will enable patients to manage their conditions better, reducing hospitalisations and the burden on the NHS.
How the NHS is tacking diabetes
The NHS spends around £10 billion annually treating diabetes. The NHS Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Programme aims to avert thousands of patients from developing the condition and save the NHS vital resources. Additionally, the NHS has made a range of diabetes treatments available, such as Freestyle Libre, which rapidly balances blood sugar levels by delivering insulin to the bloodstream.
Making continuous glucose monitoring accessible
Continuous glucose monitors are usually more expensive than flash monitors, which analyse glucose levels by scanning a sensor. However, the new NHS deal with manufacturers DEXCOM means that continuous glucose monitors will now be available for patients on prescription at a similar price.
The technology is called Dexcom ONE Real Time-Continuous Glucose Monitoring and employs a small sensor that attaches to the user’s arm for up to 10 days and measures their glucose levels from under the skin. The gadget relays information to a mobile app that allows patients to track their glucose levels at all times without needing to scan or take a finger prick test.
Dr Partha Kar, the 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 getting patients the latest cutting-edge medical technology at the best value for taxpayer money – saving the NHS millions over the coming years.”
Karen Baxter, Vice President, UK & Ireland, Benelux, France and Spain at Dexcom, commented: “The addition of Dexcom ONE to the NHS England drug tariff is enormous progress towards improving the choice of diabetes tech, providing an alternative to burdensome finger pricks and scanning.
“We are incredibly proud of the diabetes community and are working hard to make it easier for them to access the best technology possible to manage their diabetes. As a next step, we will be working closely with healthcare professionals to ensure the diabetes community can benefit as quickly as possible from reimbursement and the wider availability of Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring.”
Andy Lavender, a Type 1 diabetes patient, a Live Well co-ordinator for the NHS and a local chair for the charity Diabetes UK, concluded: “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 blood 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.”