Charity Welcomes Rollout

A diabetic charity has welcomed the announcement by Health Minister David Ashford that the prescription rollout of important technology is underway.

This week in Keys, Mr Ashford confirmed that 60 residents have been assessed and offered the Freestyle Libre after the unavoidable delays caused by Covid-19.

The Freestyle Libre is a ‘flash glucose monitoring system’ that removes the need for diabetics to prick their fingers multiple times a day to receive their blood glucose readings. The system includes a discreet sensor worn on the upper arm, which then uses NFC technology to send glucose readings to a separate device or smartphone.

Mr Ashford was asked for an update on the rollout by Garff MHK Martyn Perkins. The funding decision was made in December 2019 and went into effect in April 2020, just in the height of the Covid pandemic.

He said: ‘As expected there have been unavoidable delays which have held back progress and implementation. Chief among then was providing a safe and effective diabetes service during the pandemic. 

‘Over the past 12 months, a great amount of work has gone into redefining the care pathways for diabetes such as the work that has gone into the transformation pathfinder project.

‘In addition we now have, after several years, a substantive consultant in post and plans are afoot to reorganise and expand the team.’

He added that the island is moving away from the UK’s strict processes for deciding who would benefit from the system.

Natasha Parry from Diabetes Isle of Man said: ‘It’s really positive to hear that the prescription roll-out of Freestyle Libre is underway after the unavoidable delays caused by Covid-19, and that 60 patients have been assessed and offered this technology so far.

‘It’s important that those with Type 1 diabetes are aware this technology is available to them now, and they should ask the question on their eligibility at their next clinic appointment. The team at the Diabetes Centre will be able to discuss this, along with the plentiful benefits of the technology, with them in detail.’

On the island, there are 400 adults and 36 children and young adults with Type 1 diabetes. Mr Ashford said that all adult patients should have been offered the libre system by the end of the year after they attend the Diabetes Centre on a routine review.