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Can I get a glucose monitor on the NHS?

Everyone with type 1 can access a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) or flash glucose monitor on the NHS, whether you are in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. However, your choice may be limited in some areas – an issue that we’re working to change. This page is a summary of what is available on the NHS. Talk to your Diabetes Healthcare Team about what is available to you and how it might help.
Content last reviewed and updated: 05.02.2024

Getting a continuous glucose monitor through your hospital clinic or Diabetes Healthcare Team

This section covers CGMs that are available through your hospital-based clinic or Diabetes Healthcare Team (known as procurement).

England and Wales

If you have type 1 diabetes and live in England and Wales, you are entitled to glucose sensing, which includes CGM or flash glucose monitoring (a type of sensor that only gives a reading when it is scanned by a dedicated receiver).

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance says that all children with type 1 should be offered CGM. Everyone over four years old into adulthood should be offered a choice of CGM or flash. NICE recommends that children should be offered CGM first, and only be offered flash if they have a strong preference for it.

However, your Diabetes Healthcare Team will still need to make a clinical judgement taking into consideration the recommendations by NICE, their professional opinion and what you need and want to use.

They’ll consider several factors, including the accuracy of the device, how it impacts your work or school life or if you have anxiety about hypoglycaemia.

If your Diabetes Healthcare Team think all options of CGM will meet your needs and you don’t have a preference, then the guidance recommends they offer the device with the lowest cost.

If your clinic won’t offer you sensing, talk to them about how you think it will help. If you can show that you can make good use of the data you should be given an opportunity to try it.

If you have type 1 diabetes and you are pregnant, you should be offered CGM.

Scotland

In Scotland advanced CGM (CGMs that can be used as part of a hybrid closed loop system) is not widely available on the NHS.

However, anyone with type 1 diabetes who uses multiple daily injections or a pump and is actively engaged in managing their type 1, is eligible to access CGM on prescription, such as Dexcom One, Libre 2 or Libre 3. Of these, Libre 3 is the only CGM available on prescription that works in a hybrid closed loop system. Find out about compatible HCL systems.

The current guidance states that all pregnant women with type 1 diabetes in Scotland should be offered a CGM. Read the full guidance

Northern Ireland

Although guidance states that children and adults are entitled to access CGM on the NHS in Northern Ireland, in practice access to advanced CGM is poor for children, young people and adults.

For children and young people, advanced CGM may be offered if they:

  • have frequent severe hypos
  • have impaired awareness and inability to recognise symptoms of a hypo
  • are new-borns, infants and children of pre-school age
  • take part in sports at regional level
  • have comorbidities such as anorexia or are on corticosteroids

They may also be offered for short term use to reduce hyperglycaemia.

For adults, CGM may be offered if:

  • you have more than 1 annual unpreventable severe hypo
  • you have a complete loss of hypo awareness
  • you have more than two asymptomatic hypos per week causing problems with daily activities
  • you have extreme fear of hypos
  • you have an HbA1c over 75mmols which persists despite carrying out 10 finger prick measurements per day

However, prescribable CGM such as Dexcom One, Libre 2 and Libre 3 is widely available on the NHS in Northern Ireland. Of these, Libre 3 can be used as part of a hybrid closed loop system.

Getting a CGM on prescription from your GP

It is now possible to get a CGM on prescription in all four nations in the UK. Speak to your Diabetes Healthcare Team to see if this is available in your area, and if it isn’t yet, when it will be.

There is a limited choice of this type of CGM. You can get either the Dexcom One, Libre 2, Libre 3 or GlucoRx aidex (although there have been very few trials for GlucoRx aidex with people with type 1 diabetes, so there is little evidence for its accuracy).

What is JDRF doing to widen access to CGM on the NHS?

One of our main goals at JDRF is to make sure that everyone with type 1 diabetes who wants or needs a CGM is able to get the one they want to use – for free. Read more about our treatment advocacy work and how you can support us.

More helpful information

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Hybrid closed loop technology

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Read more about how flash glucose monitoring can help you manage your glucose levels.

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Type 1 technology

Learn about what technology is available to manage type 1 and how to access it.