NHS England has announced pregnant women and people with learning disabilities who have diabetes will be offered ‘life-changing’ technology to manage their condition.
For pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes, this will involve using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) for 12 months, NHS England announced last week.
The CGM is a small device inserted under the skin, which continuously monitors glucose levels and alerts users if blood sugar levels are too high or too low.
The device will benefit around 2,000 pregnant women who have Type 1 diabetes, enabling them to control their condition throughout pregnancy and increase the likelihood of delivering healthier babies.
Karen Addington, UK chief executive of Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, said: ‘Type 1 diabetes can be tough to live with, and pregnant women with the condition face particular challenges. That is why we are especially pleased by this milestone.’
Adults with learning difficulties who have diabetes will benefit from the expanded rollout of a similar technology known as ‘flash’ technology. The flash device sticks to the skin and allows users to check their blood sugar levels when needed, without pricking their fingers.
The technology is part of the NHS plan to manage diabetes more effectively. ‘Life-changing’ NHS Flash technology was initially made available last year on NHS prescription to around 75,00people with Type 1 diabetes, who met the original NHS criteria. In a significant expansion of the flash rollout, up to 3,000 people with a learning disability will now be eligible.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, remote monitoring conditions have played a major role in NHS care provision, enabling patients to stay in control of their own health during isolation or changes to service provision. Earlier this year, NHS research showed an increased mortality risk for people with diabetes from Covid-19.
Helen Kirrane, head of policy and campaigns at Diabetes UK said: ‘This announcement will be a huge relief to many. We know that diabetes technology can make a big difference as people with diabetes try to manage their condition during these difficult times.
She added: ‘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.’