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Could the new Health and Care Bill provide greater access to type 1 diabetes technology?

JDRF’s Public Affairs Officer Angel Strachan looks at whether major NHS reforms, announced yesterday, could help end postcode lotteries of access to type 1 diabetes technology.

Group of JDRF campaigners outside Parliament

This week the government presented its new Health and Care Bill to MPs. This is the first major shake up to NHS England in nearly a decade, and will build on lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic. Supporting the NHS to innovate and addressing the health inequalities exposed by the pandemic are key pillars of the reforms in the bill.

Health is devolved in the UK, so yesterday’s bill will affect people in England only. But it will impact how JDRF speaks out for people with type 1 diabetes right across the UK.

The government is looking to continue the momentum of clinical research and support innovative new developments, potentially paving the way for new treatments and technologies for type 1 diabetes.

The coronavirus pandemic also laid bare the stark inequalities people face around their health, with disparate access to today’s existing technology to help people manage their type 1 diabetes. The bill contains reforms of the current Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that decide which health services are provided in their local areas, replacing them with Integrated Care Systems (ICSs). The aim is to deliver more integrated care and support, and ensure best practice across England. This could help begin to eradicate the postcode lottery people with type 1 diabetes face in accessing technology.

Other measures announced in the bill are about embracing innovation, promoting patient choice, and maximising the benefit of using data to drive research into new treatments.

JDRF is hopeful that the bill will offer a key opportunity to deliver innovative new treatments and technologies for type 1 diabetes, as well as widened access to what already exists. The bill must empower people with type 1 to take charge of their own healthcare. JDRF will promote the voices of everyone in the UK affected by type 1 diabetes, especially those from under-served communities, as we propose changes to the bill as it progresses through Parliament.

JDRF’s Pathway To Choice partnership project aims to increase awareness of and access to type 1 diabetes technology. The project’s 2020 report, launched in Parliament, highlights barriers to greater type 1 diabetes technology access and makes proposals for these barriers to be overcome.

Read about Pathway to Choice here.