Labour MP claims postcode lottery is blocking type 1 diabetes technology access

Jack Woodfield
Fri, 20 Jul 2018
Labour MP claims postcode lottery is blocking type 1 diabetes technology access
Labour MP George Howarth has written about how the benefits of type 1 diabetes technology in the UK are limited due to a postcode lottery of access.

Writing in Politics Home , the Labour MP for Knowsley stressed that improving technology access today can inspire a better tomorrow for those with type 1 diabetes.

Among the significant technology advances in recent years include artificial pancreases-like devices, made up of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump. Elsewhere the FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitor was made available on the NHS last year.

"Two of the technological treatments for type 1 diabetes today are the insulin pump and the CGM - yet uptake and use remain low," said Mr Howarth. "This is despite the UK’s strong position as a pioneer of biotech, and its role in developing the artificial pancreas - the type 1 diabetes treatment of tomorrow.

"Access to this technology is crucial to help avoid health complications and to boost quality of life. It is for precisely this reason that I raised the issue in a Prime Minister's Question last week: because the benefits of type 1 diabetes technology are often blocked by a postcode lottery of access."

The postcode lottery of diabetes care in the UK has long been under fire. This has meant that some people have been able to access diabetes education more easily than people in other parts of the country. Access to the FreeStyle Libre, a finger-prick free method of monitoring sugar levels, currently varies significantly across different regions of the UK.

"Not only do people with type 1 diabetes deserve access to the best technology on the NHS - they need it," added Mr Howarth. "Given that a third of children with type 1 diabetes had to be referred to psychological services in 2016-2017, the impact of the artificial pancreas for those with type 1 diabetes, their parents and partners - cannot and should not be underestimated.

"If the NHS addresses the issue of access today, a pathway is cleared to tomorrow's technology, which will have an enormously beneficial impact for people with type 1 diabetes."

Mr Howarth's column follows a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Thursday, where the unacceptable inequity and variation of care to diabetes technology was discussed. His full column can be read here.
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