It’s been over a year since the Abbott Freestyle Libre became available to purchase in Ireland. This product is a new way of monitoring blood glucose levels without finger pricking. Instead you use a reader device (which is just like the Freestyle Optium Neo meter) to scan a sensor that sits on your arm. And it has been a game changer in diabetes management for most who have used it.
I don’t know how many people are using the Libre in Ireland but from the chatter in the diabetes online community it would seem that the number of users is significant. And there are a lot more people who can’t afford it, so have to wait until it’s available on the Long Term Illness Scheme.
When is that going to happen? Is it going to happen?!? Any day now!!! Surely any day now. That’s my wishful thinking anyway.
If you are wondering what has happened in this process in the last 13/14 months I’ve put together a little summary which might be useful. And last June, I wrote this piece on what was happening then with the process of getting it included on the HSE long term illness scheme. I was very optimistic. I still am!
I should probably mention that I don't know anymore than any other member of the public. All the information below is in the public domain.
- 2014 September Libre available in the UK and lots of Irish people were able to get their hands on it.
- 2016 November Libre available for purchase in Ireland
- 2017 February Abbott applied to include the Libre on the HSE long term illness scheme. The company published this statement on their website. With another update in August
- 2017 September NHS announced that the FreeStyle Libre will be available on the NHS from November 1 (three years this took). Diabetes Ireland’s published this statement on their reaction to the announcement.
- 2017 November 1st Libre included on an NHS reimbursement scheme
- 2017 November 27th We wait! Still.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
A lot of people, myself included, are people of action. I mean I do have a certain amount of patience but it’s has limits. So, if you would like to get this done and the Freestyle Libre included in the Long Term Illness scheme here are a couple of things you can do.
CONTACT ALL OF YOUR LOCAL TD'S
I know most of you have already done this and it's frustrating to have to do it a-gain! But this really helps strengthen the case for a speedy approval. Especially, if they hear from LOTS of their constituents. You can write a letter, email or telephone but it’s important that you contact ALL of your local TD’s. If you’re not sure who all your local elected representatives are, find them and their contact details here.
What to ask? Ask them to ask the HSE when the Freestyle Libre will be available on the Long Term Illness scheme and why it’s taking so long. They will submit a parliamentary question in the Dail that will be referred to the HSE who are legally required to answer. This is a fabulous way to spend our income tax and creates lots of extra work for people who then get motivated.
SIGN THIS PETITION
This change.org petition was started by Limerick Mum Louise Hackett, whose daughter has type 1 diabetes in December 2016. It had well over 4,000 signatures. There have been a couple of other petitions shared over the year but this one has the most signatures at well over 4,000 and it hasn’t been delivered to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris or the HSE just yet. A boost in the number of signatures would really help and then present it.
SOME MONEY SAVING TIPS IF YOU ARE ALREADY PAYING FOR YOUR LIBRE
If you are paying for your Freestyle Libre at the moment please be aware there are money saving offers such as the occasional Free Shipping, etc. on the Freestyle Libre website, as well as claiming refunds through your tax return. More than this here.