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Making access to diabetes tech fair and equitable

Our Head of Policy, Campaigns and Mobilisation, Helen Kirrane, sets out the focus of our new campaign for fair and equal access to life-changing diabetes technology in England, and why we’re highlighting this now. 

The potential of wearable diabetes technology to transform people’s daily lives and improve long-term health outcomes is now widely accepted. That’s why today, we are launching our Diabetes Tech Can’t Wait campaign in England, following our launch in Scotland back in March.  

Taking back control

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and Flash allow people living with diabetes to keep track of their blood sugar levels and take back control. And both have been shown to be clinically and cost-effective by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and it's these devices that our campaign is currently focusing on. 

Guidance published in March 2022 recommends people of all ages with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes should be offered a choice of monitoring devices.

We want to make sure everyone eligible gets the right device for them and that it becomes a standard part of their diabetes care. Doing so could improve the quality of life for many and ease financial and capacity pressures on the NHS by improving clinical outcomes and making remote consultations easier. 

Significant variation

At the moment, there is significant variation in technology provision between local areas. While some Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) have introduced policies to extend access to Flash and CGM in light of NICE’s recommendations, many continue to face barriers to implementing them fully.

We need to work together to improve access to Flash and CGM, so more people can benefit from this life-changing technology. 

With an announcement expected soon on new guidance on who should be eligible for hybrid closed loops too, it’s more important than ever that people are able to get the tech they need to make this possible. 

People living with diabetes can also benefit from other types of technology, such as smart connected pens, and insulin pumps, but the significance of the recent guidelines provides a strong platform to campaign for better access now to CGM and Flash.  

And while we know that access to insulin pumps for those who are eligible is also a real area of concern, we are currently supporting a National Diabetes Audit Quality Improvement Collaborative project, working with 83 specialist diabetes teams across England and Wales to improve access to insulin pumps in line with NICE recommendations. Learnings from this project will be shared in due course to help improve access. 

Reducing barriers for healthcare teams

We understand that health professionals are often really stretched, and services are under unprecedented pressure - and that’s why we’re backing calls for a fully funded NHS workforce strategy and have repeatedly emphasised the need for greater political focus and resource to address the backlog of missed diabetes checks and appointments.  

Through our campaign, we are also committed to developing a better understanding of the barriers that health professionals are facing in making diabetes technology more widely available for all those eligible – and working together with the health system to address these.   

We want to know what challenges or issues services are facing when writing and implementing policies so we can provide support. People working in the health system can share your experience with us here 

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