Diabetes UK says access to blood glucose test strips is being restricted, against government guidance.

The charity sent a survey to around 2,200 people with diabetes, of which 39% reported having a test strip prescription refused or restricted. This is despite the Department of Health writing to all GPs in England stating that such prescriptions should not be denied.

Diabetes UK also believes Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are partly to blame. This follows advice from a quarter of those with limited prescriptions, all of whom were told by their GP that restrictions had been imposed by the local CCG to save money.

In some parts of the country patients are allowed only two testing strips per week. This is by no means sufficient, as diabetics require the test strips to monitor their blood glucose levels on a regular basis. People with type 1 diabetes need to test their blood every time they eat, drive and exercise.

In rationing them, Diabetes UK says people’s lives are being put at risk. This could be causing more of a drain on the NHS, as a diabetic person will be unable to regulate their blood glucose levels and adjust their treatment accordingly. It is therefore more likely that serious, short-term complications will arise.

Irregular blood glucose levels can also lead to long-term problems such as blindness, strokes, kidney failure and amputation. Treating diabetes-related complications such as these is very expensive and costs the NHS nearly £10 billion per year.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “test strips are the most basic tool for managing type 1 diabetes and insulin-treated type 2 diabetes so it is very worrying that so many people are telling us they are having their test strips rationed because of cost-saving measures.

“When people with…diabetes have their test strips restricted or denied it has a huge impact on their life.” She added: “Rationing test strips to save money does not make any sense, because it is putting people at increased risk of complications that are hugely expensive to treat.”

Have you suffered diabetes-related complications?

If you have suffered diabetes-related complications which could have been avoided with the appropriate medical care, get in touch with a solicitor today. It may be that you are the innocent victim of medical negligence, meaning you will be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced.

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