Posted by on Tuesday 9 April 2019

Libre Limbo

As of the beginning of April the new national NHS England criteria for obtaining Freestyle Libre on prescription came into effect. This is who it says should have access to Libre on the NHS:

  1. People with Type 1 diabetes OR with any form of diabetes on hemodialysis and on insulin treatment who, in either of the above, are clinically indicated as requiring intensive monitoring >8 times daily, as demonstrated on a meter download/review over the past 3 months OR with diabetes associated with cystic fibrosis on insulin treatment
  2. Pregnant women with Type 1 Diabetes -12 months in total inclusive of post-delivery period.
  3. People with Type 1 diabetes unable to routinely self-monitor blood glucose due to disability who require carers to support glucose monitoring and insulin management. 
  4. People with Type 1 diabetes for whom the specialist diabetes MDT determines have occupational (e.g. working in insufficiently hygienic conditions to safely facilitate finger-prick testing) or psychosocial circumstances that warrant a 6-month trial of Libre with appropriate adjunct support. 
  5. Previous self-funders of Flash Glucose Monitors with Type 1 diabetes where those with clinical responsibility for their diabetes care are satisfied that their clinical history suggests that they would have satisfied one or more of these criteria prior to them commencing use of Flash Glucose Monitoring had these criteria been in place prior to April 2019 AND has shown improvement in HbA1c since self-funding.
  6. For those with Type 1 diabetes and recurrent severe hypoglycemia or impaired awareness of hypoglycemia, NICE suggests that Continuous Glucose Monitoring with an alarm is the standard. Other evidence-based alternatives with NICE guidance or NICE TA support are pump therapy, psychological support, structured education, islet transplantation and whole pancreas transplantation.However, if the person with diabetes and their clinician consider that a Flash Glucose Monitoring system would be more appropriate for the individual’s specific situation, then this can be considered.
Other requirements:
  1. Education on Flash Glucose Monitoring has been provided (online or in person)
  2. Agree to scan glucose levels no less than 8 times per day and use the sensor >70% of the time.
  3. Agree to regular reviews with the local clinical team.
  4. Previous attendance, or due consideration given to future attendance, at a Type 1 diabetes structured education programme (DAFNE or equivalent if available locally)

Well this all sounds very promising for my perforated fingers... but unfortunately I find myself somewhat in Libre limbo.

I had my annual toe-tickling / BP / weight check appointment at my GP surgery towards the end of March, and mentioned these new criteria and asked about Libre. The nurse who runs the diabetes reviews at my surgery is also one of the DSNs at the hospital pump clinic that I attend, and was able to tell me that all Libre requests in my area were going to be handled in 'secondary care' (that's 'at the hospital' for those that don't speak fluent Healthcare Professional). The suggestion made to me was that since there was not really time in people's regular clinic appointments to deal with all this stuff, that special extra sessions would be being arranged for anyone who was interested in Libre.

At some point fairly soon I'm pretty sure I'll be contacted for my annual* pump clinic appointment (last one was over a year ago). So now I don't know whether to wait and see whether I get an appointment and ask the same nurse I saw a few weeks back (but sat at a different desk) whether I can get another appointment at one of the Libre sessions. Or whether I should try to work my way through the labyrinthine appointment telephone system to try to speak to someone and ask a) if they've ever heard of these extra clinics and b) whether I can come. Then wait for that appointment to come through and see what they say.

* actual timings may vary

Frankly the very thought of it all is exhausting, and I am unable to even summon the energy to decide which of those options is the least teeth grinding, let alone make any of the necessary phone calls.

EDIT: The day after I posted this, I got the letter to book my appointment for pump clinic, so it looks like I'll be rolling with option 1. Next available appointment was mid July, so I've a little while to wait yet I think.

In other Libre news, as part of my position as one of the PWD representatives on the Diabetes Technology Network (DTN) I was involved in reviewing and contributing to a set of excellent video resources to help both people with diabetes and their families, along with nurses and clinicans get the most out of the Freestyle Libre. As part of the project I offered my own meandering thoughts on living with Libre, and took part in a live 'webcast' of the videos. If you missed it you can catch up with the videos and also a recording of the Q&A session on the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists website. The full set of videos and further webcasts will be added as the weeks go by and in all should provide an excellent source of information and guidance as more and more people get access to Freestyle Libre.

Disclaimer. DTN/ABCD paid my train fare to get to the initial meeting to discuss/review the course content, and then to the video recordings. They also gave me a thank-you card with an entirely unexpected voucher in it which was very lovely of them. I was not paid to take part or write this post, and all opinions shared are entirely my own. I mean... who else would want them?

1 comment:

  1. DTN/ABCD webinars are excellent - so helpful! And I relate to the maze to wonder through re getting libre; I have my hospital clinic on Monday. Best of luck to both of us!! 😎