People in Huddersfield with diabetes are being denied new life-changing technology that could help them to safely manage their condition, it is claimed.
Charity Diabetes UK has said both North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) had decided not to prescribe a new method of testing blood glucose levels – while CCGs in neighbouring Greater Manchester are offering it for free on prescription.
The charity said people with diabetes who self-monitor their blood glucose levels usually take a finger prick blood 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 and make it easier to keep on top of blood sugar levels.
Diabetes UK said both North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) had decided not to prescribe Flash, while Greater Manchester CCGs were prescribing it.
The charity said: “Crucially, 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 then reduce the risk of serious diabetes-related complications such as amputation, blindness and stroke, as well as improving quality of life, and saving the NHS much-needed funds.
The charity said the device could be prescribed anywhere - but its use had to be approved by local health bodies, meaning people with the condition were facing a ‘postcode lottery’ for treatment.
Stephen Ryan, of 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.
“Because Flash makes it easier to monitor and better control blood sugar levels, it improves lives, can save money and reduces the risk of serious diabetes-related complications such as amputations and blindness.
“The NHS agreed to provide access in November, but people with diabetes in Huddersfield and Kirklees have already been waiting for too long. The CCGs should now have a policy providing access to Flash for free on prescription, so that everyone who can benefit from it.”
A spokesperson for NHS Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs said: “Currently, Flash glucose monitoring systems are not routinely available to patients with diabetes in North Kirklees or Greater Huddersfield although they are made available in exceptional circumstances.
“However, we are working together with CCGs across South West Yorkshire and with diabetes specialists to identify which groups of patients might benefit from using such systems. Working in partnership across this wider footprint will help to ensure that prescribing decisions are consistent across our area and avoid a postcode lottery.”