Pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes will be able to access a continuous glucose monitor for 12 months. This helps them control their diabetes by automatically alerting users if their blood sugar is high.
It is hoped the move will help women with Type 1 Diabetes give birth to healthier babies much less likely to need intensive care treatment post-birth.
People with a learning disability who use insulin to treat the disease will also be eligible for a flash glucose monitor. This works in a similar way, except users check their own blood sugar levels using a mobile app.
The device, which sticks to the skin, is the size of a £2 coin and worn on the arm. It removes the need for people to carry out multiple painful finger-prick checks to monitor their blood sugar levels.
Of the more than 250,000 people with Type 1 diabetes in England, around 75,000 patients are already benefiting from the rapid roll out of the technology, which is available on NHS prescription. The devices have been shown to improve glucose control and wellbeing and reduce hospital admissions.
NHS national speciality advisor for diabetes, Professor Partha Kar, said, “This is a major step forward – as this novel technology can make a massive difference for those living with diabetes. The expansion will have an instant effect for pregnant women and those with a learning disability and is just one example of how the NHS is continuing to make sure patients can benefit from the latest technologies.”
Lucy, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for four years, found out she was pregnant last year and started using a CGM model, Lucy said: “I was aware of the risks associated with Type 1 diabetes and pregnancy and I wanted to be really proactive in taking care of mine and my baby’s health.
“There’s a few things that the NHS recommends which are great but, for me, CGM was without a doubt the thing that went above and beyond anything else in terms of really helping me to manage my blood sugars and keeping them under control during my pregnancy with Type 1 diabetes – a time when glucose levels can become even more unpredictable.”
Head of Policy and Campaigns at Diabetes UK, Helen Kirrane, said, “This announcement will be a huge relief to many, and is an important step towards widening access to life-enhancing technology for people with diabetes.
“We know that diabetes technology can make a big difference as people with diabetes try to manage their condition during these difficult times.
“While healthcare services remain under enormous pressure, it is wonderful to see that pregnant women and people with learning disabilities will be getting the help they need to manage their condition as well as possible from home.”
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