Helen Kierrane, our head of policy, campaigning and fundraising, sets out the focus of our new campaign to ensure fair and equal access to life-changing sugar technology in the UK and why we’re highlighting it now.
The potential of wearable diabetes technology to change people’s daily lives and improve long-term health outcomes is now widely accepted. That’s why today we’re launching our Sugar Technology Can’t Tolerate campaign in the UK, following its launch in March in Scotland.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) and Flash allow people with diabetes to monitor and re-regulate blood sugar levels. And they have been shown by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to be both clinical and cost-effective, and it is these tools that our campaign is currently focusing on.
In the year Guidelines published in March 2022 recommend that people of all ages with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes should be given a choice of monitoring devices.
We want to make sure everyone who is eligible gets the right device for them and it becomes a regular part of their diabetes care. Doing so could improve quality of life for many and ease financial and capacity pressures on the NHS by improving clinical outcomes and facilitating remote consultations.
Currently, there is a huge difference in the availability of technology between local areas. While some Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) have developed policies to extend access to FLASH and CGM in line with NICE recommendations, many are facing barriers to full implementation.
We must work together to improve access to FLASH and CGM, so more people can benefit from this life-changing technology.
With the imminent announcement of new guidance that hybrid closed loops must also be eligible, it’s more important than ever that people have access to the technology they need to do this.
People with diabetes may benefit from other types of technology, such as smart connected pens and insulin pumps, but the importance of recent guidelines now creates a solid platform for better access to CGMs and flash.
And while we recognize that access to insulin pumps for people who are eligible is also a concern, we are currently supporting the National Diabetes Audit Quality Improvement Collaborative project, working with 83 specialist diabetes teams in England and Wales to ensure that pumps are compliant with NICE recommendations. Learning from this project will be shared over time to help improve access.
Reducing barriers to health care teams
We understand that health professionals are often really stretched and services are under unprecedented pressure – and that’s why we support calls for a fully funded NHS workforce strategy and have repeatedly said that more political attention and resources are needed to tackle the backlash. Diabetes tests and appointments.
Through our campaign, we are committed to developing a better understanding of the barriers health professionals face to making diabetes technology accessible to all who qualify – and working with the health system to address these.
When writing and implementing policies, we want to know what issues or problems services are facing so we can provide support. People working in the health system can share your experiences here https://www.diabetes.org.uk/forms/hcp-stories
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