A new technology that is potentially life-changing for many people with diabetes is now available in 22 (out of 33) London boroughs.
After Diabetes UK successfully campaigned to make Flash Glucose Monitoring available on the NHS last year, health leaders in many areas have approved its use, which means some people who meet local criteria will be able to get it free of charge on prescription for the first time.
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. 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.
Flash Glucose Monitoring is a different technology which uses a small sensor that people wear on their skin. It continuously records and stores the last eight hours of glucose readings, and can be read by scanning the sensor whenever needed. This can free people from the pain of frequent finger-prick testing, making it easier to keep on top of blood sugar levels.
The device can help with better control of the condition and, in turn, reduce the risk of serious diabetes-related complications such as amputation, blindness and stroke.
Even though in principle it is available on the NHS, its use is subject to approval by local health bodies, and there are still several boroughs where it isn't not offered on prescription.
It is available in the following boroughs:
- Barking & Dagenham
- Brent, City & Hackney (two boroughs with one CCG)
- Hammersmith & Fulham
- Kensington & Chelsea
- Tower Hamlets
- Waltham Forest
Carole Michaelides, 68, lives in Hammersmith and has been self-funding Flash for two and half years and is now able to access it for free on prescription. Carole has Type 1 diabetes, plus a strong family history of diabetes as her brother and father both died in recent years from serious complications and her two nephews live with the condition.
“Flash glucose monitoring has been transformative for me and I would not want to be without it. It has taken away the fear of not knowing what my diabetes is doing and means I can test anywhere and at any time, which is just amazing."
“Like many people with diabetes I struggle to control my glucose levels and with my family history I have always been extra-cautious, so I was using finger prick test strips about eight times a day and at night.
“There are so many advantages to Flash. I had very sore fingertips from so much testing and less finger pricking in itself is a relief. But the main advantage is that I can maintain a fairly good blood glucose level and can easily test in the middle of the night which reduces the fear.”
Roz Rosenblatt, Head of London at Diabetes UK, said: “It’s really good news that many people will be able to get Flash free of charge on prescription. This sadly isn’t the case for everyone living with diabetes across London.
“We believe everyone with diabetes should have access to the right technology to support them, not just those who can afford it."
“We are calling on local decision-makers to ensure everyone with diabetes who could benefit from Flash get it, no matter which borough they live in.”
You can find out if Flash is right for you, what you need to do to access it and how you can make the case for it to be made available in your area.