David Stewart 16th November 2017

Diabetes (FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System)

David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab):To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had regarding the roll-out of the FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring system, in light of it being available in the national health service in England and Wales. (S5O-01476)

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport (Shona Robison):Following due process, the flash glucose monitoring device FreeStyle Libre has been included on the Scottish drug tariff from 1 November 2017. As with all other prescriptions on the tariff, NHS boards must ensure that prescriptions are appropriate, evidence based, safe and cost effective. It is essential that investment is used wisely to maximise the health benefit to patients.Given the limitations of the current evidence base, to support a consistent approach across boards, the Scottish diabetes group has provided advice to help to identify people who should be considered for NHS-funded FreeStyle Libre. That advice is broadly in line with the Diabetes UK consensus guideline.

David Stewart:The cabinet secretary will be well aware that FreeStyle Libre is a form of flash glucose monitoring using a small sensor that is worn under the skin and that it reduces the need for frequent finger-prick blood tests. As the cabinet secretary said, the NHS placed the device on the Scottish drug tariff earlier this month. When will it be available in every health board in Scotland?

Shona Robison:As I said in my initial answer, the listing of a medical device on the drug tariff should not be interpreted as a recommendation to prescribe a particular product. Patients will need to discuss the on-going management of their condition with their healthcare professional and consider whether flash glucose monitoring is suitable for them. As I said, the guideline that Diabetes UK has developed is consistent and in line with the Scottish diabetes group’s advice, which aims to help clinicians to identify people who should be considered for NHS-funded FreeStyle Libre. It is a clinical decision and, as the member will appreciate, the device will not be suitable for everyone to use. I am happy to keep him updated as the matter goes forward, but it is initially for patients to discuss with their clinicians whether the device is suitable for them.