Diabetes UK in the South West has responded today to Dorset’s Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision to make Flash, a life-changing technology, available to only 200 people with diabetes on a six-month trial basis.
Phaedra Perry, Diabetes UK regional head in the South West, said:
“The Dorset Clinical Commissioning group should make Flash available to all people with diabetes in the area who can benefit now, and not just to a very limited group of 200 patients for six months.
“Among the selected patients deemed eligible to take part in the trial are adults with Type 1 who have no hypo awareness. This group should not even be considered appropriate for this device − they should already be using a different technology called Continuous Glucose Monitoring instead.
“The six-month trial means that it could be another year before a new decision is made and people with diabetes in Dorset have already been waiting too long for access to a vital technology, which helps to better manage their condition and in turn can prevent devastating and costly complications from developing.
“There is enough evidence from healthcare experts and people with diabetes themselves to convince more than half of the areas in the UK to provide access to Flash for free on prescription to everyone who can benefit. It is wholly unfair that health bosses here are stopping people from getting access to the care and support they need and Dorset need to urgently review their decision and follow guidance from the NHS Regional Medicines Optimisation Committees to get it right.”
Many people with diabetes need to self-monitor their blood glucose levels. This is usually done with a finger prick blood test using a meter that indicates the blood glucose level at the time of the test. People with diabetes who use insulin often need to test many times a day.
In contrast, Flash Glucose Monitoring uses a small sensor that people wear on their skin that records and stores the last eight hours of glucose readings, and can be read by scanning the sensor whenever needed. This device can free them from the pain of frequent finger-prick testing, making it easier to keep on top of blood sugar levels.
Crucially, because Flash helps people test more frequently, and gives them much more information, it in turn supports people to improve their control of the condition. This can then reduce the risk of serious diabetes-related complications, such as amputation, blindness and stroke, as well as improving quality of life, and saving the NHS much-needed funds.
Neil Absolom, who’s had Type 1 diabetes for 27 years, launched a petition to push for Flash to be made available in Dorset.
Neil has been trying to pay for Flash himself but, being currently out of work due to his health problems, he’s unable to afford the technology regularly. So he’s started a petition, asking Dorset County Council to hold the local CCG to account over their decision not to make this available to people in this area.
Neil said: “I can’t work because of my health problems and so I often can’t afford the £106 a month it costs to fund flash myself. But if I lived an hour’s drive away in Yeovil or Southampton, I would get it free on the NHS. This seems very unfair, especially as it would actually save the NHS money to give me flash on prescription. Without it, I have to finger-prick test up 12 times a day, which costs more.”