All 8 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in Lancashire and South Cumbria have passed two new clinical policies which mean patients with diabetes will now have consistent access to insulin pumps and glucose monitoring devices. The two policies are the Provision of Insulin Pumps and the Provision of Continuous Glucose Monitoring and Flash Glucose Monitoring, the latter of which includes the Freestyle Libre® device. These policies ensure that qualifying diabetes patients have equity of access to insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors and flash glucose monitors wherever they live in the region, which was not previously the case.
Diabetes specialists in hospitals and other specialists such as Diabetes Specialist Nurses will be responsible for prescribing glucose monitors and are expected to start prescribing them for patients by mid-November, subject to implementation arrangements. Diabetes patients must meet the access criteria, which have been expanded following a public consultation to include patients who are already self-funding these devices, as long as they can demonstrate they would have met the criteria when they began to self-fund. This also applies to patients who have self-funded insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors.
Insulin pumps have been available in Lancashire and South Cumbria since 2008, but a review of their use had suggested that not all appropriate patients were receiving them. The new policy is designed to offer clinicians clear guidance to aid the identification of suitable patients who will achieve the greatest clinical benefit from treatment.
The two new policies went through a detailed and systematic development process which included both clinical and public consultations. The policies were ratified at the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Group (JCCCG) on behalf of all 8 CCGs on 5 October and are now going through an implementation phase.
Andy Curran, Executive Medical Director for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, said:
“Many insulin-dependent diabetics face challenges in managing and controlling their condition every day. These new policies are good news for them, as they will ensure these devices are made available to those who need them the most, across all age groups. Within these policies there are clear criteria to enable clinicians to be able to prescribe this technology for their patients. Because they are unified Lancashire and South Cumbria policies, we are ensuring equitable access for patients across our whole geography.
“The Clinical Commissioning Groups are responsible for commissioning a wide range of clinical services, including secondary (hospital), community and mental health services and for paying for those services, for and on behalf of, the local population. We need to ensure this is done in an open, fair and transparent manner but in so doing we must take into account the limited resources that are available.
“These two new policies, although they make a greater call on these resources, help CCGs to do so in a responsible way while providing support to the diabetics who need it most in helping them manage and control their condition.”