Restrictions on essential diabetes equipment means people living with diabetes in the...

Restrictions on essential diabetes equipment means people living with diabetes in the West Midlands impacted.

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Diabetes UK found that 26.03 per cent of people with diabetes in the West Midlands said they weren’t prescribed a sufficient amount of test strips.

This supports more recent findings by the leading charity, that people living with diabetes are being refused an essential piece of kit to monitor blood glucose by the NHS.

A new report, ‘Testing Times’, found 1 in 4 people had either experienced restrictions or were refused test strips on the NHS compared to 1 in 5 people four years ago.

The UK wide survey for Diabetes UK also found more than half (52 per cent) of people experiencing problems getting test strips had Type 1 diabetes. This is of particular concern as NICE recommends all adults with Type 1 diabetes should routinely self-monitor blood glucose levels, testing at least four times a day.

People with diabetes use test strips in blood glucose monitors that help them to be more in control of the condition. If not managed well, diabetes can lead to devastating complications such as amputations, blindness, heart disease and stroke.

The charity is also concerned people with Type 2 say they were advised they did not need to test their blood sugar. Yet they should if their diabetes is treated with insulin and/or medication that can cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).

Diabetes UK is calling for strong action and guidance at a national level across the UK to make sure that everyone with diabetes gets the kit they need to self-manage effectively. People with diabetes should not have to fight for this when they are already managing a condition that requires constant attention.

NICE need to review their guidance on self-monitoring for people with Type 2 diabetes and the NHS must make sure local policies reflect NICE guidance on self-monitoring for people with Type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes UK Midlands regional head Peter Shorrick said: “No one with diabetes should have their test strips restricted. It is a false economy and causes people to face stressful decisions about when to test or not. As well as being vital for people with Type 1 diabetes, anyone with Type 2 diabetes can benefit from testing so should be supported to do so if it is helping them to better manage their condition. We urge people to challenge restrictions and refusals.

“Local policies should allow sufficient choice and flexibility for individual circumstances to be taken into account when prescribing test strips and meters for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.”

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