Hundreds of local patients with Type 1 diabetes that are under the care of a diabetes specialist will now be able to manage their condition more easily, as wearable glucose sensors will be available on prescription.
The Freestyle Libre device reduces the need for finger-prick blood tests to measure glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes but, until now, people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who wanted to use it have had to fund it themselves.
The local NHS has announced that the device will be made available from February 1st, for specific patients across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. In order to be eligible for the sensors, patients must have Type 1 diabetes, be aged four and above, currently be using multiple daily injections or insulin pump therapy, and be under the care of a specialist clinician at the hospital.
Professor Azhar Farooqi, GP and Chair of Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that Freestyle Libre can potentially improve the quality of life for many patients and makes it much easier to control their diabetes. We have carefully considered the benefits that it will bring and we have followed the guidance of the Regional Medicines Optimisation Committee in reaching our decision.
“We anticipate that between one in four and one in five people with Type 1 diabetes will now be able to use this device, and these are the patients who will benefit most from its use.”
A flash system is made up of a sensor that pierces the skin on your arm, and a reader which you use to scan the sensor to see your glucose levels. You can also use a smartphone app to scan the sensor. Each sensor lasts for two weeks, after which it needs to be replaced.
Professor Farooqi explained: “Although the system is easy to use, it does require guidance and monitoring, especially during the early stages, otherwise if it’s not used properly there is a risk that you could become unwell. The safety of patients is always our top priority.
“Because of this, all patients will need to complete an agreement with their clinician at the start of their treatment, be trained in how to use it and attend follow-up appointments over a six month period, to make sure that everything is working as it should be.”
Access to Freestyle Libre will be rolled out gradually across the region and patients are being advised to wait until their next regular hospital appointment before asking for the device, and not to request it from their GP. It will only be made available from hospital clinics initially, for patients who are under the care of a specialist.