MP tells Prime Minister to grant access to life-changing diabetes technology for the many not just the few

Today Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham, Selly Oak) asked the Prime Minister whether she would take action to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of people living with diabetes in the UK, who could benefit from the Freestyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System, have access to it like she does.

Flash Glucose Monitoring allows people living with diabetes to continuously monitor their blood glucose levels. Flash Glucose Monitoring gives people access to better and more accurate information surrounding trends in their blood glucose levels, including at times when they might otherwise not be checking; during the night or when they’re at work, for example. The technology has been described as ‘life-changing’ and a number of constituents who contacted Steve about this issue have described how the technology could transform their diabetes management, reducing the risk of long-term diabetes related complications. The technology is particularly helpful for young children who are living with the condition and parents living in Steve’s constituency have described how it could make a real difference to their ability to track their children’s health.

While Mrs May responded that the technology was approved for prescription on the NHS last year, many CCGs across the country are not making it available. It’s there for people living in Wales, Scotland and N Ireland but in England more than 30% of those with diabetes are not benefiting from this life-changing technology because of NHS rationing. This reflects the penny-pinching so many CCG’s are having to engage in after the budget cuts they have faced. Even in the Prime Minister’s own constituency of Maidenhead, the local CCG won’t make the treatment available. This is the same problem for people living in Selly Oak. In fact those who come under the Birmingham and Solihull CCG are denied access to the technology but their neighbours living in Dudley can make use of the system.

It’s not clear whether the Prime Minister, who has Type 1 Diabetes, is able to avail herself of the technology because of her No. 10 Downing Street postcode or by purchasing it privately at a cost of about £50 every two weeks. 

Steve McCabe said:

“The Prime Minister’s response to my question was a little disingenuous. She claims that the Freestyle Libre glucose monitoring is available on the NHS but that is simply not the case for people living here in Birmingham and for about 500,000 people across the country. They are being denied access to Freestyle Libre because of NHS rationing. If it’s good enough for the Prime Minister then it’s good enough for everyone else and she should commit to making this life-changing technology available for the many, not just the few.”


Published by

Steve McCabe

Steve McCabe is the Labour MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak, and has been an MP continuously since 1 May 1997.

Leave a Comment