Can I get a continuous glucose monitor on the NHS?

Information on clinical guidelines and current NHS funding for advanced glucose monitoring technologies for people with type 1 diabetes

Whilst the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued statements describing when CGM might help someone with type 1 diabetes, it hasn’t yet performed a Technology Appraisal (TA) of CGM. So unlike insulin pump therapy, which is covered by TA151, there is no statutory obligation on your CCG, Health Board or NHS England to provide funding for CGM, even if you meet the criteria. For more information on NICE and CGM funding see our page NICE and diabetes technology funding

Several documents from NICE mention CGM:

Clinical guidelines

NG17 (Aug 2015/July 2016) – Type 1 diabetes in adults: diagnosis and management
NG18 (Aug 2015/Nov 2016) – Diabetes (type 1 and type 2) in children and young people: diagnosis and management

Diagnostics assessment

DG21 (Feb 2016) – Integrated sensor-augmented pump therapy systems for managing blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetes (the MiniMed Paradigm Veo system and the Animas Vibe with Dexcom G4 PLATINUM CGM system). In addition, in July 2016 NICE published a Quality Standard on Diabetes in children and young people (QS125). Statement 4 of this QS refers to CGM.

We explain what the different NICE recommendations mean and how strong those recommendations are on our page “NICE and diabetes technology funding”

Current NHS funding for advanced glucose monitoring technologies

Short-term/diagnostic use:

Short-term or diagnostic use of either CGM or flash glucose monitoring can help you and your diabetes care team spot patterns or problems. Usually, a diabetes specialist nurse (DSN) will help you insert a sensor to wear for between five days and two weeks. You will have a clinic appointment at the end of your session to return reusable parts of the system and discuss your results. Many clinics own CGM or Libre systems for short-term use, and can provide you with a sensor to wear.

They may use a real-time (readings visible on a screen) or blinded (no readings visible but data is saved) CGM system. The Medtronic iPro2 is often used for this purpose.

CGM systems for short term diagnostic use are owned by the clinic, and no extra funding needs to be applied for in this instance. We believe all clinics supporting people with type 1 diabetes should have access to short term CGM systems for troubleshooting. If your clinic doesn’t have a system, contact us for advice.

Note that research shows that using a CGM at least 70% of the time is more likely to improve your HbA1c than short-term use.

Long-term/therapeutic use:

NICE Guidelines NG17 (for adults with type 1 diabetes) and NG18 (for children and young people with diabetes) set out specific situations in which clinics should consider CGM for certain people with diabetes. Not everyone with type 1 diabetes will meet those criteria. To see the criteria have a look at the CGM section in the Type 1 Technology Guide for the relevant age group, in the e-downloads section.

Note: Access to long-term CGM varies across clinics and CCGs/LHBs, with highly pro-active paediatric clinics being the most forthcoming.

If your consultant pursues Individual Funding for CGM for you on your behalf,  the application should explain how the NHS can save money if you use a CGM, for example, by preventing future ambulance call-outs or A&E admissions, based on your history of needing emergency medical services.

Local and national funding arrangements

Whilst there is no requirement to provide CGM, several areas in England have developed policies on funding it. We have listed below the areas where we are aware of a policy. These policies might support the use of CGM in line with NICE guidance, or may rule it out altogether. If your area doesn’t have a policy on CGM, ask your diabetes clinic team to visit this page for examples of policies, and to contact ABCD DTN-UK for support in building a business case to present to local NHS commissioners.

North West London (8 CCGs) – adults only

Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth (SHIP) (8 CCGs) – adults only

If your local CCG has a policy to not fund any CGM, ask your clinic team to report the policy to Dr Partha Kar, Associate National Clinical Director, Diabetes, NHS England.

Future prospects for CGM funding

NICE will perform a Technology Appraisal of CGM when there is sufficient evidence for its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

This evidence base for CGM will include:

  • Clinical trials published in medical journals showing that CGM improves HbA1c, increases the time spent in the target glucose range and reduces hypos
  • Patient data beyond HbA1c as a measure of optimal diabetes control – for example, hypo risk, diabetes distress, time in target glucose range
  • Accuracy, reliability and wearability of CGM devices

Thus CGM companies are supporting clinical trials; investing in research and development and running educational events for healthcare professionals working in diabetes.

We anticipate that the UK will face challenges in expanding access to CGM, as will the US and our neighbours in Europe. Along with diabetes technology companies (who have a financial interest), we are working to raise the profile of CGM as a valuable tool for managing type 1 diabetes.

You may also be interested in

Flash glucose testing

Flash glucose sensing is a new development in glucose monitoring

CGM funding: the bigger picture

Obtaining funding for continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)

Type 1 diabetes research

Type 1 diabetes research

Discover JDRF's research to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes and its complications.

Read more
Managing blood glucose levels

Managing blood glucose levels

Keeping your blood glucose levels as close to normal range as possible

Read more
Access to insulin pumps

Access to insulin pumps

Insulin pumps have many proven advantages, but are more expensive in the short-term than multiple daily injections

Read more