Technology to help treat Diabetes

Thank you to those who have contacted me about funding for diabetes technologies.

I absolutely agree that technology could, and should, provide vital support to people managing long term conditions, including diabetes. I know that new treatments and technologies are being created all the time, which is why I welcome the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill, which aims to keep patients safe while ensuring they have the safest and earliest possible access to new drugs and technologies.

In November 2017, FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitors were made available on the NHS for those with Type 1 diabetes, subject to local approval. After an investigation found patients in some areas of the country were being denied access, NHS England announced it would fund the device to allow access throughout the country, in all 195 Clinical Commissioning Groups. I am pleased that since April 2019, all qualifying patients have been able to receive flash glucose monitoring (or continuous glucose monitoring, CGM) from their local GP or diabetes team. This will help to make life more convenient for those with the condition while saving the NHS time and resources by preventing people becoming ill in the first place.

Technology has continued to evolve since that time. There are a number of apps to help manage diabetes, as well as new devices which establish a connection between a CGM monitor and an insulin pump to automatically give insulin when blood sugar is too high, and to stop insulin when it is too low. While these loop systems are currently unregulated, they have the potential to revolutionise the way that patients with diabetes are able to manage their health, and are a testament to the determination of scientists to support people with long term conditions.

I have spoken with colleagues at HM Treasury about your suggestions for the Spending Review taking place this year. There will be a one-year review setting budgets for next year, which will allow for a focus on tackling Covid-19 and delivering the Plan for Jobs. I am regrettably not in a position to pre-empt the conclusions of the review. I am, however, assured by my aforementioned colleagues that they are aware of the policy suggestions that many of you raised.

Thank you again to those who took the time to contact me about this.