Freestyle Libre Update June 2019

Freestyle Libre Update June 2019 - Diabetes Community Calls On Minister For Health To Extend Freestyle Libre To All

The HSE are currently reviewing a years worth of information regarding the cost versus savings efficiencies of the flash glucose monitor: the Freestyle Libre, for people with type 1 diabetes. Since April 2018, the Abbott Freestyle Libre was made available free to people with type 1 diabetes aged between 4 and 21 years, and who meet the clinical criteria, through the Irish health service.

On hearing news of the review status, Diabetes Ireland published its report on their online survey of Freestyle Libre users with a call to the community to contact local TDs to make sure survey findings are considered as part of the HSE Review and the views of people who are self-funding its use when making his final decision on this issue. See example email to copy and paste here.

Over 300 people completed the survey which reported huge quality of life improvements in users as well as an average 67% reduction in the cost of blood glucose monitor test strips making the device cost neutral.

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The decision, announced in January 2018, to exclude so many people with diabetes caused an uproar in the diabetes community. And out of that fury came a community united through a petition that will go down in history in my mind. Immediately after the announcement, community member, Davina Lyon set up an online petition asking the Minister for Health to remove the age restriction. In three days, there were over 10,000 signatures and in two weeks there were over 19,000: more than one for every person with type 1 in Ireland.

This petition was a clear message to government, the department of health and the health service that we were united in this issue, that it was important to us and that we weren’t going to go away. It didn’t matter that the petition never landed on the desk of the minister for health: it didn’t need to because we had been heard.


And now, we are being heard again! Last week, lots of you contacted your public representatives asking for the survey report to be included in the review. If you haven’t already it’s not too late to do so, here is an example of the email that many have sent if you would like to copy and paste it.

Now What?

Yeah, I know patience is a virtue and you’ve heard it before. But yes, now we wait for the review to be published and decision to be announced. However, I’m optimistic that the HSE will see how hugely important this device is in our everyday care of our diabetes and I’m choosing to believe that they are listening to us.

So what exactly did the survey finding?

Survey Highlights:

“The survey showed:

  • Significant reduction in blood glucose strip usage, almost 70% reduction,

  • Which provides cost savings for the HSE and offsets the monthly cost of the Libre sensors.

  • It also showed positive information on individual daily experiences and life changing benefits of using Libre.”

Over 300 people completed the survey:

  • 162 respondents are being reimbursed under the HSE scheme: i.e. under 21 years

  • 142 respondents are self-payers: i.e. over 21 year old users

Additional Findings:

  • Usage levels in the over 22 years of age (self-funders) is almost as high as those under 22 years of age (HSE funded) which reflects the desire of people of all ages to use the technology.

  • Over half of respondents (56%) are using the device for longer than 12 months.

  • 86% of respondents scanned more than 8 times daily which in the HSEs HTAG advice note stated that scanning more than 8 times daily would be cost effective when compared to blood glucose strip costs.

    • 57% of respondents scanned 9-16 times daily.

    • 29% scanned more than 17 times daily).

  • There was an average reduction of 66% in blood glucose strip usage with 48% of respondents reducing their usage by more than 75%.

What Users said:

“I feel safer and healthier and more in control. It is like going from watching the trailer for a film to actually reading the whole book. All the gaps in my knowledge have been addressed. It has completely changed my life!

“Life changing as no longer getting sore fingers”

“It has cleared up the soreness of my fingertips plus the sensor tells you if your blood level is steady/rising up/lowering down you have none of this information from a blood finger test”  

“I work in the bridal industry and can’t finger prick in work due to the expensive fabrics. It has helped reduce my a1c and has improved my standard deviation considerably”   

“My control has greatly improved. I have been able to prevent hypos and my hba1c has reduced. It had also giving me insight into overnight hypos which I did not know I was having.”

“It highlighted repeated hypos at night that I was unaware of”  

“I was waking with very high blood sugar and had a headache both myself and the hosp thought that I needed to increase my long acting insulin when in actual fact because I started using the LIBRE I discovered that I was actually going extremely low during the night and rebounding to a high level. Without the LIBRE I never would of known this and it actually could of lead to a serious situation.”   

“Greatly improved confidence in daily exercise and management of levels.”

Read the complete report here

If you would like to read up on what actions have been taken in this campaign since January 2018 see this webpage.

We can make a difference; Look at what this seed can do.