NHS issues letter addressing FreeStyle funding policies
Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are being urged to take “careful consideration” when developing FreeStyle Libre funding policies to ensure the technology is made available to people who will benefit.
In a letter written by Dr Partha Kar, the associate national clinical director for Diabetes and NHS England consultant in diabetes medicine has laid out further clarification on local approaches to the device that was made available on the NHS in November last year.
He said: “Reducing variation in the management and care of people with diabetes is a key objective for the NHS in England and we are therefore keen to ensure that technology is made available to those that guidelines suggest might benefit.
“Indications are that, taking into account the overall impact on healthcare costs from improved control of diabetes, the overall costs from the use of flash glucose monitoring can be less than those that arise from self-monitoring. However, the cost / benefit analysis only holds true provided that the device is used to treat particular cohorts of patients.
“It is therefore important that CCGs give careful consideration to the available evidence in developing their policies on funding FreeStyle Libre.”
The document also stated that NHS England’s Regional Medicines Optimisation Committee (RMOC) (North) reviewed the use of the system in October last year and has issued advice for Area Prescribing Committees.
The RMOC (North) considered the issue on behalf of all four RMOCs and Dr Kar said: “We would encourage all CCGs to have regard to the advice that has been issued, although it is guidance and not mandatory.”
Dr Kar, who is also a Diabetes Times columnist, pointed out that NICE has developed a medtech innovation briefing (MIB) on the FreeStyle Libre for glucose monitoring.
The letter also addressed a Diabetes UK survey which had reported there were some limitations of access to blood glucose test strips across the country. The relevant NICE guidelines set out the importance of access to blood glucose test strips, in some circumstances, in excess of 10 strips per day. More usually the figure is between four and 10 in the care and management of type 1 diabetes.
Dr Kar said: “We would encourage CCGs to work with local clinicians to ensure appropriate numbers of test strips are made available.”
To read the letter, click here.