Difficulty accessing test strips
We asked people with diabetes to tell us their experience of testing. Our survey found that 1 in 4 people face difficulties getting the amount of test strips they need to test their blood glucose (blood sugar) levels.
This is both shocking and dangerous. Testing regularly is important for all people with Type 1 diabetes and many people with Type 2 diabetes, depending on their medication and personal situation.
We heard from people that these restrictions created serious problems in terms of managing their diabetes effectively.
"I had to reduce my testing. Hypo awareness has depleted again."
We know that over the longer term, poor management can lead to complications.
Restrictions to test strips cause unnecessary distress and result in many people having to buy strips themselves. We believe this is unacceptable.
"I find it hard as I live on a pension to buy them and so have to use them sparingly."
Challenging the restrictions
We want to make sure people know their rights and can challenge restrictions to their test strips. In most cases, where people challenge the restriction to their test strips, the decision is reversed. So we have:
- Updated our support pack (PDF, 403KB) to give people the information they need.
- Created an online action in England and Wales that allows people to write to local health bosses to raise and challenge restrictions.
If you're in Scotland or Northern Ireland and have faced restrictions to test strips we want to hear from you.
I was first given test strips over 11 years ago. They were suddenly taken away.
My CCG decided to stop me having test strips and since then I’ve bought my own. I find my diabetes difficult to control without them.
I feel strongly that my strips should be reinstated. I feel that test strips are the only good way of keeping my diabetes in control. And they save the NHS a vast amount of money compared to when more in depth care is needed for complications such as amputations or retinopathy.
I will continue to chase the local CCG to challenge this.
What do we want to see happen?
Our new report is calling on Governments and the NHS to make sure people with Type 1 don’t face restrictions to test strips. It's also calling for a review to guidance around people with Type 2 diabetes and their access to test strips.
Locally, we know that where people challenges their restrictions, they are almost always successful. With our awareness raising and resources we want to help make sure that people know their rights and are equipped with ways of challenging restrictions as quickly and easily as possible.