Freestyle have released the first reasonably priced continuous blood sugar monitor in the UK. Unfortunately it is not yet available on the NHS. You can purchase it for £157 and get extra sensors which each last two weeks for just short of £60 each.
Most blood test strips cost between 30p and 50p each. Most type one diabetics will be using 5 or more test strips a day. This costs £9,125 per person based on 5 strips at 50p each. A years supply of sensors for the Freestyle Libre will cost £1,508 so you can see that it has been priced fairly reasonably.
The new system works by having a sensor, about the size of a ten pence piece, inserted in the triceps area of the upper arm for up to two weeks at time. The adhesive is strong enough to withstand daily baths, showers and swimming activities. After an hour the new sensor is good to go.
After initial programming with your personal blood sugar targets, the mobile phone sized monitor picks up not only your blood sugar but shows the trend in which it is directed by means of directional arrows. This is perhaps the most important feature of the new machine. It would be really helpful for most people to know this when they are about to drive for instance, or if they are trying to address rising blood sugars during an attack of flu.
The number of times you can check your blood sugar with the Freestyle Libre is limitless and there are well designed graphics to show you how your blood sugars have performed over time.
80% of the costs of diabetes on the NHS is related to the treatment of complications. It seems to me that it would be money well spent for the NHS to invest in this new technology that can help diabetics control hypoglycaemia better as well as helping them keep their blood sugars in range and avoid high blood sugars.