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Diabetic children to be offered “life-changing” glucose monitoring devices

Hundreds children with type 2 diabetes who are currently using finger prick testing will instead be offered non-invasive glucose monitoring devices, NICE has said.

Hundreds of children with type 2 diabetes who are currently using finger prick testing will instead be offered non-invasive glucose monitoring devices, NICE has said.

Health Minister Helen Whately says the devices will “relieve the burden” that hundreds of children currently experience, and empower them to manage their condition more easily.

Finger prick testing can have a negative impact on children

The NICE committee heard that children using finger prick testing are subject to the ‘burdensome’, ‘tiring’, and ‘stressful’ task several times a day, which can have a negative psychological impact on the child.

The new technologies – the rtCGM device (real-time continuous glucose monitoring) and the isCGM device (intermittently scanned glucose monitoring) – are wearable gadgets with a sensor which attaches discreetly to the body.

The technologies give a continuous stream of real-time information on a smartphone allowing better and quicker management of the condition.

It also shows a prediction of where the glucose levels are headed meaning the child can inject themselves with insulin to stabilise their levels if necessary.

If the patient prefers the isCGM device (also known as flash monitoring), they have the option to choose this device instead. Research has found both devices are able to help someone maintain optimal blood sugar levels.

The committee has also recommended the technology is offered to children and young people with type 2 diabetes, if they:

  • have a need, condition or disability (including a mental health need, learning disability or cognitive impairment) that means they cannot monitor their blood glucose by finger prick testing
  • would otherwise be advised to self-measure at least 8 times a day
  • have recurrent or severe low blood sugar levels
  • have impaired blood sugar awareness.

The devices have already been recommended for children with type 1 diabetes.

Glucose monitoring devices could reduce impact of diabetes on NHS

Dr Judith Richardson, programme director in the Clinical Directorate at NICE, says the new technologies have the potential not only to reduce the health impact on the child, but also relieve pressure on the NHS.

She said: “Type 2 diabetes in children is the most aggressive form of the disease and recommending new technology is a clear step towards giving children on insulin therapy the ability to manage their own condition in a less invasive way, and to live happier and healthier lives.

“We’re focused on bringing the best care to people fast, while at the same time ensuring value for money for the taxpayer. This technology can take away the burdensome task of several finger prick tests a day, which can be tiring, stressful and have a negative psychological impact on the child.

“Improvements made in managing a child’s diabetes at an early stage can reduce the health impact of the condition later in their lives, and the potential impact on the health service.”

Professor Partha Kar OBE, national specialty advisor for diabetes at NHS England, added: “Asking children to carry out finger prick testing when non-invasive sensors are progressing to become standard care in diabetes is not right, so I am pleased these evidence-based recommendations have been made to offer this life-changing technology to them.”

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