Press Release from Representatives of the Irish Diabetes Community
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HSE Denies Thousands Of Diabetics Access to Life-Changing Diabetes Device
Petition for “Equality for all people Diabetes” gathers over 16,000 signatures
The announcement last January by the Department of Health welcoming the HSE’s decision to reimburse Freestyle Libre with such restrictions leaves thousands of people with type 1 diabetes denied access to this life-changing diabetes device.
Over 17,000 people with type 1 diabetes have been excluded from the scheme. There are approximately 20,000 people with type 1 diabetes in Ireland. According to the 2012Irish Paediatric Diabetes Audit, there are 2,750children under 16 years with Type 1 diabetes. With the current restrictions on the reimbursement scheme only a small percentage of that number will be included and none of the 17,000 adults with type 1.
The type 1 diabetes community has reacted angrily to this decision with over 16,000 people have signed an online petition campaigning for “Equality for all people Diabetes” created by Davina Lyon.
The HSE’s decision goes against the Equal Status Acts 2000 – 2004 – which states it is “unlawful for in Ireland to discriminate when providing goods, services or facilities on the basis” of a person’s age. Unlike the NHS whose guidelines on access to the Libre state they are “committed to promoting equality, eliminating unlawful discrimination and fostering good relations between people with particular protected characteristics and others.”
The HSE made this decision despite lack of clinical evidence to support their recommendation. The Health Technology Assessment Group HTAG Advice Note states that “it is unclear whether data from clinical trials(on the benefits of the Libre use in adults with diabetes) are generalizable to children”.
They have chosen to ignore the Experts Opinions who“consider the product would be of benefit to all patients with diabetes using multiple daily injections.”
The HTAG Advice note estimates that the “average additional cost per patient per year for using
Freestyle Libre is €62.60”, making the cost of providing the Libre to all people with type 1 diabetes be approx. €1.2 million, with an estimated additional saving in the“expected reduction in the need to perform finger prick testing of over 2000 times per year”.
The diabetes community considers this a huge insult as the HSE has already saved €5 million on blood glucose strips since April 1st 2016, when the rules governing access to blood glucose strips for people with Type 2 diabetes were changed.
Representatives from the Diabetes community: Davina Lyon from Kildare/Offaly, Elizabeth Murphy from Waterford and Gráinne Flynn from Clare, have requested a meeting with Minister Simon Harris to discuss their concerns and to present the online petition. They have yet to hear when that will happen.
They have also been informed that members of the diabetes community, who felt discriminated against, have notified the HSE of a possible legal claim based on the Irish Human Rights-Equality Committee.
What is the Freestyle Libre monitoring device?
The Freestyle Libre is a blood glucose sensor worn on the skin with readings taken by scanning a handheld device over the sensor. It reduces the need for finger prick checks.
The game-changing element of this device is in that the Freestyle Libre provides continuous glucose information throughout the day giving a person more information to base insulin dosing decisions. Unlike Blood Glucose Monitoring via finger prick which provides very few data readings per day to make informed dosing decisions.
The Freestyle Libre is also more convenient, less invasive and comes at a reasonable cost to the health service.
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For further information about the Freestyle Libre Campaign;
- Gráinne Flynn. Contact:Mobile 087 6548320, Email Grainne@thriveabetes.ie. Grainne is an Adult with type 1 diabetes, Founder of the Type 1 Diabetes Community Group: Thriveabetes .ie. Creator and Blogger at BloodSugarTrampoline.com
- Davina Lyon. Contact: Mobile 085 875 9822, Emaildavinalyon@gmail.com. Davina is an Adult with type 1 diabetes, creator of the online petition, Founder of Diabetes T One
- Elizabeth Murphy. Contact: Emailelizabethmurphy13@hotmail.com. Elizabeth is an Adult with type 1 diabetes, Founder of Waterford Diabetes Support.
REFERENCES AND EDITORS NOTES
Press Release from Dept of Health on 19/01/2018
Equality for All People with Diabetes Petition
The number of people with type 1 diabetes is approximately 20,000.
The number of people under 16 years of age living with Type 1 diabetes is 2,750 (based on the Irish Paediatric Diabetes Audit 2012).
– Source https://www.diabetes.ie/about-us/diabetes-in-ireland/
NHS NICE Statement on Equality
The HSE Health Technology Assessment Group HTAG Advise Note