Today begins NHS England’s first year of providing continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for pregnant women with type 1 diabetes.
It’s a significant milestone on the journey towards greater access to technology for people with type 1 diabetes.
CGM technology has been unavailable on the NHS for the majority of people living with type 1, including pregnant women.
However, in 2017, JDRF-funded research found that CGM significantly benefited both mother and child during pregnancy.
After strong lobbying by JDRF and partner organisations, NHS England committed to begin providing mums-to-be with the technology from April 2020.
NHS England aims to provide CGM to all pregnant women living with the condition by April 2021.
Although this change only applies to women in England, NHS access to technology in one of the nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland often helps lead to access in the others. JDRF will be monitoring and pushing for this.
Better glucose control and healthier babies
Continuous glucose monitors are small wearable devices that regularly and automatically monitor glucose levels. The devices reduce the number of daily fingerprick checks, and can sound alarms if blood glucose levels get too high or low.
In September 2017, the researchers behind the JDRF-funded CONCEPTT trial announced that pregnant women living with type 1 diabetes, who used a continuous glucose monitor throughout their pregnancy, had better blood glucose control and healthier babies.
JDRF and others took this evidence from CONCEPTT and submitted it to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which advises on the use of new medicines and technology on the NHS.
In 2018, NICE subsequently agreed to update its Diabetes in Pregnancy guideline with a focus on CGM – and in 2019, NHS England agreed to incorporate this into its long-term plan.
NHS England’s plan to provide CGM to all pregnant women living with type 1 diabetes by 2021 now faces the challenge of coronavirus.
Karen Addington, CEO of JDRF in the UK, said: “We know that the unprecedented coronavirus crisis will have an impact on NHS care over the coming months. But it is a welcome milestone to be entering the first year of CGM funding for pregnant women with type 1 diabetes.”
She added: “This milestone is thanks in large part to the strength of JDRF research. It was also achieved by the determination of JDRF supporters, Dr Partha Kar, NHS England, Diabetes UK and other committed collaborators. Everyone, across the UK, who wants and would benefit from type 1 diabetes technology should have access to it.”
These extraordinary times are new to us all but we will not stop in our efforts to cure type 1. Together with your support, we deliver life-changing breakthroughs for people with this condition. If you can, please consider making a gift today to help find better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes.