Wakefield diabetes sufferers denied access to life-saving technology

Anita Smallwood
Anita Smallwood

Adults and children with diabetes in Wakefield are being denied a new life-changing technology that could help them to safely manage their condition.

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. People with diabetes who use insulin often need to test many times a day.

In contrast, Flash Glucose Monitoring uses a small sensor that people wear on their skin that records blood sugar levels continuously, and can be read by scanning the sensor whenever needed. This device can free them from the pain of frequent finger-prick testing, making it easier to keep on top of blood sugar levels.

Because Flash helps people test more frequently, and gives them much more information, it in turn supports to improve control of the condition. This can reduce the risk of serious diabetes-related complications, such as amputation, blindness and stroke, as well as improving quality of life.

Stephen Ryan, Head of the North at Diabetes UK, said: “People’s health should not depend on an unfair postcode lottery. Everyone should be able to access the care and treatments necessary to safely manage their condition.

“The NHS agreed to provide access in November, but people with diabetes in Wakefield have already been waiting for too long. The CCG should now have a policy providing access to Flash for free on prescription, so that everyone who can benefit from it, will.”

Anita Smallwood, 47, from Wakefield has lived with Type 1 diabetes for 34 years. She took part in a trial last year and used a flash glucose monitor for two weeks.

Helpdesk administrator Anita said that using flash made a huge difference to her diabetes management.

“I had been struggling to control my blood glucose levels so my diabetes nurse suggested I take part in the Flash trial.

“When I used the device it was able to tell me whether my levels were going up or down rather than just a single reading, so I could take action immediately.

“It also told me whether I’d had a night time hypo, which is when glucose levels get dangerously low in the night.

“It empowered me to understand my diabetes and how to take better control of my condition.

“Unfortunately the trail only lasted two weeks and Flash is not currently available on prescription where I live so if I wanted to use it permanently I would need to fund it myself.

“Flash should be available to anyone who can benefit from it no matter where you live.”