SOLIHULL MP Julian Knight has called for local healthcare providers to offer up-to-date care to diabetics and end the ‘postcode lottery’ in accessing new treatment.
This month he will attend a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes to look at access to Flash Glucose Monitoring, a new technique which offers patients an easier-to-use and less painful alternative to finger-pricking.
It is a small sensor that you wear on your skin which stores your blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) levels continuously and you can access them by scanning the sensor.
At present Flash Glucose Monitoring is only regularly available in Northern Ireland, Wales, and fewer than half of areas in England and Scotland.
Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – responsible for buying and providing services for patients in the borough – continues to require patients to make individual funding requests to access the sensors, rather than providing them as a matter of course.
Mr Knight said: “Solihull residents deserve the same quality of treatment as people in other parts of the country.
“Several have got in touch with me looking for help accessing this new and much less painful alternative to traditional finger-pricking, and my office has written to Solihull CCG several times – yet they continue to lag behind other NHS groups.
“Our NHS should be national, and this postcode lottery for access to modern medicine is unacceptable.
“That’s why I will be joining my Parliamentary colleagues to examine the issue, and have again to the CCG to make my position clear.”
Dr Richard Mendelsohn, chief medical officer for Birmingham and Solihull CCG, said: “Birmingham and Solihull CCG has made the decision not to routinely commission flash glucose monitoring for patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
“This means that GPs, and other prescribers, have been formally requested not to prescribe flash glucose monitoring sensors.
“The CCG will only fund this treatment if an Individual Funding Request (IFR) application proves a patient’s exceptional clinical need, and this is supported by the CCG.
“We understand that patients will be disappointed with this decision.
“The CCG has considered information from a wide variety of sources in order to assess the clinical benefits against the costs of the products.
“It has been concluded that investment in flash glucose monitoring is neither affordable, nor best value for money, at this time.
“The decision has been thoroughly considered by the CCG and will be reviewed on a regular basis.”