People with diabetes have been left unable to monitor their blood glucose levels, putting them at risk from serious complications, because the test strips required are being rationed by the NHS to save money, Diabetes UK has claimed.
According to a new report, 39 per cent of people with diabetes had either been refused a blood test strip or had their prescription restricted.
Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels is essential for people with type 1 diabetes and for many with the more common type 2 diabetes, so they can adjust their treatment levels.
Failure to do so can lead to conditions such as hypoglycaemia and ketoacidosis, and if left unmanaged in the long-term can result in serious complications that can require amputations, or cause blindness or stroke.
Blood monitoring and treatment adjustment is also necessary for many people with diabetes to go about everyday activities, such as eating and exercising, safely.
NHS England said that all doctors and pharmacists had been told not to restrict access to testing strips. However, many of the respondents to Diabetes’ UK survey, which consulted 2,000 people with diabetes, said that their GP had told them restrictions were in place because of policies issued by local health managers.