Speaking in a debate on diabetes, Philip Dunne recalls his family’s experience and calls on the Government to examine the clinical guidance which is restricting access to a flash glucose monitoring device.
I not only congratulate my right hon. Friend on securing the debate but thank him for allowing me to intervene on that point. My second daughter was two and a half when she was diagnosed as an insulin-dependent type 1 diabetic. I very much empathise with the story that he has just told us about his constituent. My daughter was barely able to describe her feelings because she was only just talking at the time, which was really quite challenging for the clinicians treating her, as she was unable to describe the impact of treatment and how she felt. I agree with my right hon. Friend that the introduction of technology—both a result and part of the significant research efforts in this country by charities and the Medical Research Council—is leading to opportunities in treatment provision, in particular the flash glucose monitoring device, which I know the Government will introduce across the country in a more even way than in the past. That is very welcome, but it remains subject to clinical guidance. I urge the Minister to look at that guidance and the attributes required for people to have access to those devices, because they remain quite restricted.
With the insight and acumen that characterised my right hon. Friend’s ministerial career, he has identified a point that I was going to make later. With his permission, I will amplify that in my speech. I was aware of his personal circumstances and of his expertise as a result of having a daughter with diabetes. He will recognise that the average sufferer spends about three hours a year with a healthcare professional. Self-management is therefore critical and, in turn, technology is essential to such self-management. We cannot expect a healthcare professional to be on call every time someone needs support or the kind of treatment that is routine for someone such as my right hon. Friend’s young daughter. I entirely endorse his remarks. The Minister will have heard them and will respond accordingly.
My right hon. Friend is being generous with his time. May I elaborate a little more on that specific point to give an indication to the Minister of the specifics that might cause difficulty between different clinical commissioning group areas? In my experience, those who are allowed to have clinical access to a glucose monitoring device already need to have their blood sugar levels under control—in single digits, below nine. For many people, however, the monitoring device is the one thing that gives them the ability to get better control of their blood sugar glucose levels. Therefore, if they do not get access to it until they are under control, it does not have the immediate benefit to their lifestyles that it would if the regime were slightly more permissive in the allocation of the devices.
My right hon. Friend makes a very shrewd point about cause and effect. In Scotland, for example, both the processes leading to allocation and the actual allocation of technology are much more routine, as he suggests should be the case. I hope the Minister will tell us today or subsequently how he will ensure that that becomes true for the whole of our kingdom—that the very principles set out by my right hon. Friend become embedded in the way in which we approach technology, ensuring that it is allocated according to need.