Diabetes Medication Restricted For Many Patients

Diabetic Patients' Lives May Be At Risk Due To Prescription Restricting Decisions


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463
A significant number of diabetic patients are having their health and lives put at risk due to essential prescriptions being restricted by doctors, it has been revealed.

BBC News reports that the charity Diabetes UK has conducted a poll of 1,300 patients with the condition, finding that almost half had experienced refusals or restrictions when trying to access prescriptions for blood-testing strips.

These are used to help patients monitor their insulin levels. If these are too high or too low, sufferers risk of going blind, having a stroke or needing a limb amputated, meaning it is vital they have access to such equipment.

However, the NHS has been restricting prescriptions of these testing kits - a move that has been put down to resourcing and cost issues, but this could potentially result in tragic consequences for diabetics.

The Department of Health has issued reminders to doctors throughout the country regarding the prescription of the blood-testing strips, telling them they must not restrict access unless they have concerns about a particular patient's health.

Diabetes UK found that 39 per cent of those who had experienced problems in accessing the strips had the type-1 form of the disease, which relies on insulin management to keep it in check.

Type-2 diabetes can be controlled by adopting a healthier diet and lifestyle in some cases, these patients also often need to test their blood sugar levels. Therefore, the survey results indicate that over half of respondents experiencing restrictions had this form of the disease.

Chief executive of the charity Barbara Young explained that any financial savings made from these restrictions "will be tiny compared to the long-term costs to the NHS of treating these complications".

"We need to send an urgent message to NHS England that GPs restricting access to strips on cost grounds is wrong-headed, short-sighted and unfair. It has to stop."

Co-chairman of NHS Clinical Commissioners Dr Steve Kell added: "Prescribing decisions should be made on the basis of clinical need and cost-effectiveness, not cost alone."

Expert Opinion
Patient care should always be a top priority, which means ensuring all treatment options are available to patients suffering with diabetes. It is extremely concerning that a significant number of people with diabetes have been denied access to blood-testing strips, which play a crucial role in managing the condition and preventing any further complications.

“We hope that a thorough investigation will be carried out into the standard of care and equipment made available to those suffering with diabetes.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner