ALL 400,000 Britons with type 1 diabetes will soon be offered a high-tech implant that monitors their blood sugar level in real time, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The small gadget had been restricted by the NHS because of cost, and made available only to those most in need.
But Dr Partha Kar, NHS England’s national speciality adviser for diabetes, says patients will now have access to the expensive technology within weeks, marking the end of finger-prick blood tests.
The results show how much insulin – which helps the body absorb sugars in food – they will need to inject to keep their blood sugar stable and avoid potentially fatal spikes or falls.
The implant, called a continuous blood glucose monitor, is no larger than a £2 coin and sits on the arm, beaming updates to the user’s phone.
While the technology has been available in the UK for more than a decade, spending watchdogs judged it too expensive to offer to every patient. But NHS chiefs have announced they now plan to fund the monitors for all.
If a patient goes untreated, they quickly develop life-threatening conditions such as heart and kidney disease.
To protect against these complications, type 1 diabetes patients monitor their blood sugar levels so they know how much insulin to inject before and after meals.
An accurate reading is essential. With too much insulin, the blood sugar drops and patients can suffer hypoglycaemia, which is sometimes fatal.
A continuous glucose monitor beams the information back to a smartphone. Alerts can be programmed to warn of dangerous highs or lows. The device is implanted just below the skin above the elbow.