Biggleswade grandad’s delight after life-changing diabetes technology decision

Keith MacBrayne, 75, from Biggleswade. Picture: Diabetes UK

Keith MacBrayne, 75, from Biggleswade. Picture: Diabetes UK - Credit: Archant

A new technology that is potentially life-changing for many people with diabetes will soon be available across Bedfordshire.

After Diabetes UK successfully campaigned to make Flash Glucose Monitoring available on the NHS last year, health leaders from the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group have approved its use – meaning some people who meet local criteria will be able to get it free of charge on prescription for the first time.

Those welcoming the news include Biggleswade’s Keith MacBrayne, 75. He is now waiting to find out if he can get the technology on prescription.

Keith was a commercial airline pilot and lost his job on the spot in 1986 when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

The condition stripped him of his dream career and it took a long while for him to come to terms with the diagnosis.

Keith had struggled with control at times over the years, but since using the technology – which he funds himself – both his control and quality of life has improved immensely.

He has been married to Diane for 56 years, and has one daughter and a 10-year-old grandson.

Most Read

Keith said: “Not only does blood testing hurt, but it only tells blood sugar now, not where it has been nor where it is going – both of which are essential to manage blood glucose levels.

“Considering the number of Type 1 amputations in the UK every month, towards the end of costly care, any means to help manage diabetes should be available to all proven to benefit from it. There needs to be an end to this unfair postcode lottery. It is vital technology and actually saves the NHS money.”

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. Many people with diabetes need to self-monitor their blood glucose levels. This is usually done with a finger prick blood test using a meter that indicates the blood glucose level at the time of the test.

Flash Glucose Monitoring is a different technology which uses a small sensor that people wear on their skin. It continuously records and stores the last eight hours of glucose readings, and can be read by scanning the sensor whenever needed. This can free people from the pain of frequent finger-prick testing, making it easier to keep on top of blood sugar levels.

Crucially, the device can help with better control of the condition and, in turn, reduce the risk of serious diabetes-related complications such as amputation, blindness and stroke.

Even though in principle it is available on the NHS, its use is subject to approval by local health bodies, and there are still many areas across the east of England where it is not offered on prescription. Diabetes UK wants to see people all over the UK, who can benefit from the ground-breaking technology gain access to it.

Rebecca Jones from Diabetes UK said: “It’s really good news that people in Bedfordshire will be able to get Flash free of charge on prescription. This sadly isn’t the case for everyone living with diabetes across the region.

“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 the east of England to ensure everyone with diabetes who could benefit from Flash get it, no matter where they live.”

To find out more, see

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter