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Henry Smith MP presents Crawley healthcare petition and hails government support for diabetics

The Crawley MP has presented a petition of local residents in the House of Commons.

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It calls on the NHS in Crawley to provide Flash Glucose Monitoring technology to people with Diabetes, and has spoken in support of Government moves to ensure this provision for Type 1 Diabetics across England (on World Diabetes Day, Wednesday 14th November).

Speaking in Central Lobby after the presentation of the petition, Henry said;

“My thanks to those Crawley residents who took the time to sign this petition and collect signatures in support of Diabetics locally being provided with Flash Glucose Monitoring technology, such as FreeStyle Libre.

“These enable Diabetics to live with their condition better by testing glucose levels without the need to continually prick their finger throughout the day with a needle, drawing blood to use a test strip to check blood sugar levels.

“The FreeStyle Libre works by having a small sensor on your body automatically measuring and continuously storing glucose readings day and night, which can be read via a sensor (the size of a £2 coin) in seconds using a pocket-sized scanner.

“Our petition calls for the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group to provide this support for Diabetics locally, whose daily lives would be enhanced by wider availability of this device.”

While Diabetes UK estimate that 6.9 per cent of adults in the town have Diabetes, Crawley CCG are among under one fifth of CCGs which have decided not to make flash glucose monitoring available.

Also coinciding with World Diabetes Day, NHS England announced action to end the current variation faced currently by Type 1 Diabetics in some parts of the country accessing FreeStyle Libre.

From April 2019, these patients will be able to receive it on prescription from their local GP or Diabetes team helping them to better manage their blood sugar levels.

Henry said;

“I welcome the Government’s action to support people with Type 1 Diabetes in Crawley and throughout England. This announcement should mean an end to the variation in availability in this technology which will improve the daily lives of people with this condition.

“Of course, I continue to call on the NHS in Crawley to ensure this comes in before April next year, and for all local residents living with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.”

Henry said in the House of Commons;

“I am here today on behalf of Crawley residents with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and all those who signed my petition calling on the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group to provide flash glucose monitoring technology, such as FreeStyle Libre, on the NHS. Diabetes UK estimates that 6.9 per cent of adults in Crawley have Diabetes—a figure slightly higher than the English national average—but less than a fifth of Clinical Commissioning Groups have opted to make flash glucose monitoring available.

“As the right hon. Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz) has said, I very much welcome the Government stating this morning—on World Diabetes Day—that for patients with Type 1 Diabetes, they are “announcing action to end the current variation patients in some parts of the country are facing to access Freestyle Libre.”

“People in Crawley who deal with Diabetes every day and I urge Crawley CCG and NHS England to ensure provision of this technology for people living with Type 2 Diabetes as well.

“The petition states:

“The Petition of residents of Crawley,

“Declares that the unfair postcode lottery created by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) for access to Flash Glucose Monitoring (FreeStyle Libre) is detrimental to the health and emotional wellbeing of people with Diabetes and those that care for people with Diabetes; further notes that technology has been proved to be cost effective for many who are on intensive insulin therapy; further that it has been made available on prescription by the NHS and there is evidence to support its positive impacts; further that half of the country have now given access, but the other half have not; further that there is no reason why CCGs across the country should not make this life changing technology available to people with Diabetes who could benefit in England.

“The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons to urge the government to take immediate action with NHS England to make Flash Glucose technology available on prescription for people with diabetes regardless of their address.

“And the petitioners remain, etc.”

Health & Wellbeing

Local ambulance service seeks publics help this Easter

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) is seeking the public’s help ahead of what is expected to be a busy Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

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The Trust has planned ahead for the expected increase in demand but is urging people to use the service wisely and to seek alternatives to 999 if not faced with a life-threatening or serious emergency.

Over the course of the Easter weekend in 2018, staff in SECAmb’s Emergency Operations Centres in Crawley and Coxheath answered in excess of 8,000 calls. Across the region the NHS 111 service also faced high demand handing some 25,000 calls in the four days.

During any period of high demand, SECAmb works hard to prioritise its response to patients with the greatest need. Anyone not facing a serious or life-threatening emergency is likely to wait longer for a response. Those not facing a serious emergency are urged to consider alternatives to 999 including calling NHS 111, visiting a walk-in centre or speaking to a pharmacist.

The Trust is also reminding people to order any repeat prescriptions and check opening hours of their GP surgeries and local pharmacies. Details of local services can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search

SECAmb Executive Director of Operations Joe Garcia said:

“We know that Easter is a busy time of year for us and the wider NHS. With schools off and a long Bank Holiday weekend we are anticipating an increase in demand.

“With this in mind we’re urging the public to remember to only dial 999 if it’s they’re facing a life-threatening or serious emergency. We will be working hard to reach all patients who need a face-to-face assessment as quickly as possible but prioritising our response to our most seriously ill and injured patients.

“People can really help us by remembering to make use of alternatives to 999 including calling NHS 111, where staff will also be working hard to provide people with the assistance they need.

“As ever, and throughout this period, our staff will be working extremely hard to get our patients the help they need. I’d like to thank every member of staff and all our Community First Responder volunteers for their continued hard work and commitment.”

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