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Colin's Story: I can’t express enough the difference this technology has made to my quality of life

Colin sat on the sofa


Getting funding for a Freestyle Libre was initially challenging for me with type 2 diabetes but luckily a district nurse championed my case, and I was able to get the Freestyle Libre on prescription which changed my life.


I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 5 years ago, and at the time I was told that I probably had diabetes for some years prior to my diagnosis.

My treatment plan was metformin, and I took a couple of 500 mg tablets twice a day. However, unfortunately, using the finger prick method to monitor my blood sugar levels just wasn’t working for me, I wasn’t getting good readings and for me it wasn’t the best way to monitor my diabetes.  I couldn’t get any consistency with the readings which could change so drastically, depending on how I was feeling and the time of day. So I never felt I was getting my diabetes under control and I did express this numerous times to my GP surgery with little response.

I kept asking, what else I can do as I was basically pushing for a solution. I was seeing the diabetes nurse at the surgery roughly between 3 and 6 months and she could see my readings were heading in the wrong direction, so they decided to put me on insulin but even with the insulin I wasn’t getting my diabetes under control.

Introduction to Tech

Then one day I saw the Freestyle Libre advertised on television and decided to look into it further on the internet and found out it was about £50 for a two week box, which I couldn’t afford in the long term. At the time, they were offering a free one on a trial period when signing up via the internet which I did and I felt it really helped me, so I enquired at my GP surgery to see if I could get it on prescription but was told that they were limited to the numbers they had, and generally they were given to people with type 1 diabetes. So I was faced with the situation of having to self-fund it or I wouldn’t be able to have it.

It was around October2021, and I was recovering from having an amputation and had lost three toes as a result of complications from my diabetes, and I was back at home with a dressing that needed regular changing, so I was getting home visits by the local district nurse.

She really understood my situation and knew I needed an intervention to get my diabetes under control. I mentioned the Libre to her and she said ‘leave it to me, I will speak to someone’. She spoke to Diabetes in the Community, a separate organisation with no connection to my GP surgery or the hospital, and she then wrote a letter to my GP, and on the strength of that letter I was given the Libre on prescription for a three months trial period and my levels improved so much that I now have the Libre permanently. 

Receiving Support

I’ve had a lot of support from the podiatry team in the hospital and they have been seeing me regularly.  I do however believe had I discovered the Libre sooner I may have avoided my amputations. I can’t express enough in words the difference this technology has made to my quality of life. It’s like night and day, a complete turnaround in how I’m able to manage and have control of my diabetes for the first time ever.

When I first used this system I was monitored by the diabetes in the community team and was contacted on a regular basis which I found very helpful. After a few months I was discharged back to the diabetes nurse at my surgery which unfortunately has not been very successful as I only get contacted infrequently. I think the surgery is overwhelmed with too many patients to give any further time.

Well Being

Over the past three years my diabetes seems to have affected my health in numerous ways which includes vascular disease, eye complications and in conjunction with my amputation I’ve also had a number of ulcers too. This has had a huge impact on my mental health as I also have poor mobility and if it wasn't for my family, I would be totally house bound.

I do believe that had I gained access to the technology five or seven years ago, that exists today, I would have probably prevented the additional complications that I’m now facing and possibly avoided my amputation.

Access to Technology

I do feel it would be short-sighted of the NHS not to give access of current day technology to people with type 2 diabetes who need it to monitor and manage their own sugar levels.  A small outlay now will prevent a huge number of problems in future years and will ultimately save the NHS huge amounts of money and people needing treatments and support, often for what are now chronic conditions.

I know I was very lucky that someone was willing to fight my corner and get me the Libre on prescription. With the Libre I have managed over the last year to get my sugar levels from averaging 14 down to averaging 7. So I do feel people living with diabetes should be able to get diabetes technology on the NHS as it will save numerous health issues and expensive medical procedures.

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Colin sat on the sofa

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