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Patients with diabetes at risk as NHS restricts access to test strips in Wales, NGO reports – VIDEO

People living with diabetes are being refused an essential piece of kit to monitor blood glucose by the NHS, Diabetes UK states in a press release saying that patients reported that they did not receive the sufficient amount of test strips. According to their survey, 23% of patients with diabetes in Wales have said that they did not receive the number of strips they needed.

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“Unfortunately being able to access the test strips that I needed after I was first diagnosed became a constant battle. Every time I ordered more there was a lot of resistance. I was asked whether I really needed them and even told that I was testing too much and shouldn’t have any more,” one patient told Diabetes UK.

Diabetes UK also cites the findings of the ‘Testing Times’ report which found that one in four people had either experienced restrictions or were refused test strips.

The report, commissioned by Diabetes UK, also found that more than half, 52%, of people experiencing problems getting test strips had type 1 diabetes. This is especially concerning, the specialists say, as adults with type 1 diabetes are instructed to regularly check their glucose levels, at least four times a day.

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People with diabetes use test strips in blood glucose monitors that help them to be more in control of the condition. If not managed well, diabetes can lead to devastating complications such as amputations, blindness, heart disease and stroke.

Another concern voiced by the charity regards patients with type 2 diabetes. According to Diabetes UK, patients were advised they did not need to test their blood glucose. Yet they should, specialists working with the NGO say,  if their diabetes is treated with insulin or medication that can cause hypoglycaemia.

“No one with diabetes should have their test strips restricted. It is a false economy and cause people to face stressful decisions about when to test or not. As well as being vital for people with Type 1 diabetes, anyone with Type 2 diabetes can benefit from testing so should be supported to do so if it is helping them to better manage their condition. We urge people to challenge restrictions and refusals,” says Diabetes UK Cymru’s Director Dai Williams.

The charity is calling for urgent action and for a reassessment of guidance on self-monitoring offered to patients with type 2 diabetes.

Sylvia Jacob