First off – I KNOW I haven’t blogged in literally months (I have exams and they’re horrid and it’s a lame excuse, I know, I hate it too), but after the buzz of ‘the news’ yesterday, I couldn’t not write something. For me, I feel like yesterday was one of the days I’ve been waiting and waiting for, but had no idea it was on the horizon – I just don’t think I believed we’d ever get there, but we did – and how bloody brilliant it will (hopefully!) be. For those unclear, yesterday it was announced the FreeStyle Libre will become available on the NHS from November 2017, and I for one couldn’t be happier.
So what does this mean? Well at the moment, we don’t quite know. Yesterday was full of tweets, chat, debates, optimism, cynicism, allllll of the emotions, but really at this stage, it’s unsure what ‘available on the NHS’ will mean. From JDRFs press release on the big day, it’s stated that, ‘the device will, subject to local health authority approval, be available on the NHS across the United Kingdom from 1st November 2017’ – which means that there are certainly no promises of ‘LIBRE FOR ALL’ as of yet – it will be down to the local CCG (clinical commissioning group) to discuss this in more detail and decide how and where the Libre will be funded, and more importantly who too.
So as it stands – maybe we need to hold our breath a little longer before we get too excited – but whatever the outcome is, for me, this is an absolutely fantastic step in the right direction, and SUPER super encouraging for the future of diabetes. Self-funding the Libre over the last 18 months has truly been life changing for me (cliché, I know), and I honestly don’t think I’d feel as positive* and confident about having T1 as I do now without it (*most of the time, ha!), To think that this wizard piece of kit could now be on offer to so many patients who could really benefit from it but cannot currently access it is incredible, and makes me very, very hopeful for times to come.
As so well put by Mike, the most important outcome in my opinion is to help those patients who probably don’t know that the help is available – or perhaps don’t even feel like they need it. Take me for example – I had T1 for 11 years before I had any idea what the heck a CGM, FGM (continuous/flash glucose monitor) or even, if I’m honest, an insulin pump was. I checked my blood sugars every day, did a couple of injections, let my bloods run in the mid-teens mainly and just got on with my life – because I knew no different. It wasn’t until I ‘came online’ as such that I found this whole WORLD of diabetes tech, T1 peers, and most importantly support and motivation to improve my control, that I decided to do anything about it. So hopefully what the new availability of the Libre can do for others is exactly what it did for me – help them realise that T1 can be managed – and managed pretty damn well. Let’s just hope this gets the Libre into the hands of those who will benefit most – and be a cracking start to the availability of diabetes tech for patients in the U.K. What a time to be a T1!