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Expert roundtable held at DPC2018 highlights benefits of more effective blood glucose monitoring

By Editor
16th November 2018
Good practice, Medical devices

The self-monitoring of blood glucose is a “powerful tool” which “changes lives”, a roundtable discussion at Diabetes Professional Care 2018 (DCP2018) was told.

The comments were made at the discussion titled ‘How to deliver patient self-management and behaviour change at scale’ organised by The IDEAL (Insights for Diabetes Excellence, Access and Learning) Group.

The group was established to review current practice across the NHS, in order to assess and recommend innovative ways to improve care pathways for people with diabetes.

The roundtable discussion was held on November 14, World Diabetes Day, to mark the launch of its latest white paper Current Challenges in Diabetes Care and How to Address Them.

Speaking during the discussion, Southport GP, Dr David Unwin called for “wise” use of blood glucose monitoring and suggested there needed to be an economic case for the self-monitoring blood glucose. He said: “Potentially it’s a powerful tool and I have seen it change lives, but I get criticised for the number of strips I prescribe. Can we get out more evidence that blood glucose monitoring changes lives, because it does.”

Dr Unwin also said the low-carb approach at his surgery had led to a £57,000 saving but there was “no reward”, with the money not coming back to his practice where he would have spent it on “lifestyle medicine”.

Satyan Kotecha, of the Pharmacy Local Professional Network, NHS England (West Midlands), agreed, said this was not the case everywhere.

He said one CCG in his region was potentially on the way to saving £300,000 and 75% of this would be ploughed into improving diabetes care as part of the diabetes transformation work taking place across the region.

Calls for education programmes for the self-monitoring blood glucose were made, with Professor Gerry Rayman, a diabetes consultant at Ipswich Hospital and also the Diabetes Clinical Lead for ‘Get It Right First Time’ programme, explaining: “The patients need to knowhow, when and why they are monitoring”.

Chair John Grumitt said useful guidance was available but added: “If we get all the professional associations to share guidelines, we will see some real change.”

Meanwhile, the latest white paper Current Challenges in Diabetes Care and How to Address Them suggested there were clear and unacceptable variations in the quality and processes of diabetes care delivered on a local and regional level across the UK.

It highlighted deficiencies in four key areas must be addressed to improve outcomes:

  • Lack of relevant key performance indicators
  • Accountability and benchmarking
  • Value and quality in blood glucose monitoring
  • Education and the digital age

This white paper and the associated Recommendations Matrix present a systematic evaluation of the challenges in diabetes care. It introduced recommendations for how by working collaboratively, as key stakeholders in diabetes care and support, improvements in biomedical and psychological outcomes can be achieved with associated cost savings and reduced burden to the NHS, people with diabetes, and public health more broadly.

The IDEAL Group is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Ascensia Diabetes Care.

It grew organically out of not wanting to be a ‘talking shop’ with an intention of bringing abouta real ‘call to action.’ IDEAL was launched in July last year, publishing its debut white paper ‘Safety and Accuracy – Improving Care Pathways with Optimised Glucose Monitoring’, which reviewed current practice across the NHS to assess and recommend better ways to approach education, access and learning for people with diabetes.

Its Advisory Group comprises of a group of multidisciplinary diabetes specialists with a keen interest in improving diabetes care outcomes.

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