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Rationing of diabetes test strips to be investigated

The Department of Health is to launch an investigation into the rationing of blood glucose test strips for people with type 1 diabetes.
Glucose testing strips are an essential part of blood glucose monitoring in diabetes, but charity group Diabetes UK recently claimed that GPs were being advised by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to limit the number of test strips they give to patients with diabetes type 1.
Speaking in the House of Commons last week, health minister Anna Soubry said she was concerned by these claims, adding that rationing of glucose strips was ‘unacceptable’.
“Frankly, this is bonkers; people with diabetes who use strips need to use them and often need to use many in a day,” she told MPs. “I am not happy if there is any form of rationing of those strips.
“I have already met officers in the Department and inquiries are being made of primary care trusts, and beyond.”
When asked by Labour MP Diane Abbott about what patients should do if their GP was attempting to limit access to testing strips, Soubry said the answer lay with CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) as they give authority to doctors and other health professionals to commission services, as well as more power to patients to influence local services.
“There is an opportunity, through the reforms, to ensure that we now deliver locally as we should,” she added.
Diabetes UK welcomed the minister’s response to the issue, adding that it hopes her intervention “makes it clear to PCTs that issuing blanket restrictive policies is unacceptable”.

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