A new potentially life-changing technology for people with diabetes is now available on the NHS in Richmond.

Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group has approved the use of Flash Glucose Monitoring (Flash), a technology that allows people with diabetes to self-monitor their blood glucose levels without having to regularly draw blood by the painful finger prick method.

Using a small sensor which people wear on their skin, Flash continuously records and stores the last eight hours of glucose readings which can be read by scanning the sensor whenever needed.

People who meet the local criteria can now access the technology on prescription.

Twickenham resident Erin Kirby, 47, who has type 1 diabetes, has been self-funding Flash for 18 months.

She said: “I used to get a lot of dramatic blood glucose swings and would spend a lot of my time checking my levels and almost obsessing over them.

“I was doing finger prick tests up to 15 times a day.

“This was extremely inconvenient and painful. It was also draining and upsetting.

“Flash allows me to control my blood glucose so much better because it’s pain-free. It shows whether my levels are going up or down, so my hypos have been cut drastically, along with the awful swings from high to low.

“For the first time in my adult life my blood pressure has returned to normal and I’ve managed to come off the tablets I had been taking since I was a teenager.

“This control is empowering and without it I would feel insecure about my diabetes. I never want to feel that way again.”

The device can help people better control their condition, reducing the risk of serious diabetes-related complications such as amputation, blindness and stroke.

Diabetes UK, a charity representing people with Diabetes, campaigned for Flash to be made available on the NHS last year.

Whilst it is in principle available, its use is subject to approval by local health bodies, and there are still many areas in the country where it is not offered on prescription.

Roz Rosenblatt, Head of London at Diabetes UK, said: “It’s really good news that people in Richmond will be able to get Flash free of charge on prescription.

“This sadly isn’t the case for everyone living with diabetes across London.

“We believe everyone with diabetes should have access to the right technology to support them, not just those who can afford it.

“We are calling on local decision-makers in London to ensure everyone with diabetes who could benefit from Flash get it, no matter where they live.”

To find out if Flash suitable for you or what you need to do to access it visit: www.diabetes.org.uk/get_involved/campaigning/flash-glucose-monitoring

You can also call the Diabetes UK helpline on 0345 123 2399, Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm or email helpline@diabetes.org.uk