Local Diabetes Sufferer Hopes New Technology Will Improve His Life

Special sensor is now available on NHS prescription in Merton

Local man Ben Pritchard is set to benefit from new technology which is potentially life-changing for many people with diabetes.

Health leaders from Merton CCG have approved the use of Flash Glucose Monitoring, 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.

Crucially, 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.

Ben Pritchard, aged 30, who lives in Raynes Park and has Type 1 diabetes, welcomed the development and will now be able to ask about Flash at his next appointment.

He said: “I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes more than five years ago now. It’s not been easy and there have plenty of times when I think, ‘why me?’

“A typical day with diabetes means finger-prick testing multiple times to make sure my blood sugar is at safe levels - at work, before and after running, before eating and during the night.

“At the moment I make sure to alternate my fingers when testing but scars are showing after five years. Flash will give me a lot more control, reduce the pain and scars and also give me peace of mind.”

Even though in principle it is available on the NHS, its use is subject to approval by local health bodies, and there are still many areas in the country where it is not offered on prescription. Diabetes UK wants to see people all over the UK, who can benefit from the groundbreaking technology gain access to it.

Roz Rosenblatt, Head of London at Diabetes UK, said: “It’s really good news that people in Merton 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 in London to ensure everyone with diabetes who could benefit from Flash get it, no matter where they live.”

To 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, go to www.diabetes.org.uk/get_involved/campaigning/flash-glucose-monitoring.

You can also call the Diabetes UK helpline on 0345 123 2399, Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm or email helpline@diabetes.org.uk.

January 26, 2023