The NHS is putting diabetic patients at risk of serious illness by rationing test strips that monitor blood glucose levels in an attempt to save money, a charity claims.
A survey carried out by Diabetes UK found that one in four complained of restrictions placed on the number of test strips they were prescribed by GP practices.
More than half of those experiencing problems had type 1 diabetes. Government guidance says this group should test themselves at least four times a day. Older people and those on low incomes were also affected, the charity found. Many said they felt they needed to buy test strips online, where quality cannot always be guaranteed.
Those with diabetes were given a variety of reasons for the reduced number of strips prescribed, according to the charity. Some respondents to the survey said they had been told they should test less often. Some were told there were “budget constraints”, while others were told it was because they were testing too frequently.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England’s national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, said: “Ultimately, these are decisions for CCGs, but should be informed by best evidence and national guidance where appropriate. We need to ensure adequate provision and that clinicians take into account widely recognised Nice guidelines, which are clear about the need for test strips to support people in particular with type 1 diabetes.”
Adam Hodson, Associate Solicitor from Medical Accident Group said “It is disappointing to hear that the NHS appear to be putting the lives of diabetic patients at risk in the name of cost-cutting. People with diabetes need to test their blood glucose regularly to monitor the condition. If not managed properly, diabetes can lead to serious and life-altering health complications such as heart disease, strokes, blindness and amputations.”
As an experienced clinical negligence firm, we have managed to secure an award of compensation for many clients who have experienced issues relating to diabetes management. If you have suffered from poor treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors, with over 30 years’ experience, who will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668.