26-year-old David lives in Newport, Wales and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 19 years old.
After paying for flash glucose monitoring himself on and off for a year, David was prescribed the Freestyle Libre on the NHS at the end of November. He says the device has completely changed his life.
Finding out about flash
I first heard about flash glucose monitoring (Flash GM) on social media. When the Freestyle Libre launched in the UK there was a lot of buzz about it on social media and in the diabetes forums I’m part of. I signed up for the waiting list straight away, but was put off by how expensive it is.
About a year later, I took the plunge and decided to self-fund. I’d moved onto an insulin pump and wanted to see if flash could help me better manage my levels.
It took me a while to get used to it, but I can honestly say it’s been life-changing. Flash has given me the confidence and flexibility to manage my diabetes more effectively than I ever could before.
Before I was using it I felt anxious about managing my diabetes, especially when I was out and about. I was having to do around 15-20 finger prick tests a day, and I would regularly experience very low blood glucose levels.
With the Libre, I’m doing far fewer finger pick tests. It’s so easy to scan the sensor and get an immediate reading when I’m out and about, without having to stop what I’m doing.
I find the trends most useful. Seeing the direction my readings are going in has helped me catch and treat hypos early, and learn more about my diabetes.
At first I was nervous about having an extra bit of technology attached to me, but I barely notice it’s there.
I couldn’t afford to buy new sensors each month, so I would use Flash GM on and off.
When I saw Diabetes UK’s campaign calling for Flash GM to be available on the NHS, I supported it straight away.
I was so excited to find out that the decision had been made to make flash available through the NHS. I called my diabetes team and they explained that it would take some time for them to find out more about the criteria and make a decision. After a number of meetings I found out in December that I met the criteria and would be getting flash on prescription.
Fighting for flash
My message to local NHS leaders is that Flash GM is life changing technology that will save the NHS money in the long run.
I feel very fortunate that I have been able to get the FreeStyle Libre on prescription. I know that this isn’t the case for many people and it’s unfair that some people are being forced to pay for the technology themselves.
I’m not going to stop campaigning now I have Flash GM on the NHS. My goal now is to make sure everyone else who would benefit also gets access.