15th Aug, 2018

Diabetic calls on NHS to fund 'life-saving' equipment which stopped her being terrified to leave the house

Laura Kearns 3rd Feb, 2018 Updated: 9th Feb, 2018

A DIABETIC is calling on the NHS to fund equipment which she says saved her life and stopped her being ‘terrified’ to leave the house.

Tilly Bather was diagnosed with type-one diabetes around a year ago after suffering symptoms including dehydration, extreme weight loss and exhaustion.

At one point the 26-year-old was guzzling 30 litres of water a day and dropped four dress sizes in a month.

Since then she has been working hard to control her illness, which sometimes causes her to pass out and suffer seizures due to ‘hypo unawareness’- where she fails to notice low blood sugar.

The Leamington resident said: “In a patient with hypoglycemia (hypo) warning signs, when blood sugar drops too low, adrenaline is released.

“For me, that adrenaline isn’t released, or is released too late for me to treat my hypo myself. This means that I usually lose consciousness and have also had seizures.

“I used to pass out at least once a week, sometimes in public and alone. Not only was it mortifying, but it meant that I became incredibly anxious about going out on my own in case I passed out and ended up in an even more dangerous situation.”

But Tilly started using a product called Dexcom which attaches to the skin and alerts her via an app in time to treat a hypo.

She says she does not believe she would be alive if it wasn’t for the technology – which is not funded on the NHS costs from £160 a month.

Tilly says funding for Dexcom is a ‘postcode lottery’ but believes nearly every type one diabetic should receive it and is calling on the NHS to act now.

She added: “I think every single type one diabetic who has hypo unawareness deserves and needs Dexcom funding. If they are in anything like the same situation I was in, their quality of life will be massively improved by this technology.

“It has given me freedom to live my life. I honestly don’t think I would be alive if I hadn’t started paying for Dexcom last July.

“The NHS should not put a price on the lives of type one diabetics. This technology is more cost-effective than the multiple hospital admissions and ambulance call-outs I was having to make when I was passing out from my hypos.

“It’s not just common sense, it’s the moral thing to do – to support type one diabetics who are trying their hardest to control this disease.”

Dexcom UK and Ireland director Karen Baxter is also calling on the NHS to fund the equipment, which she says would improve patients’ health and save the NHS money.

She told the Observer: “We believe every person with type one diabetes should have access to continuous glucose monitoring via the NHS.

“Not only would funding for all improve quality of life, it will ultimately result in a more efficient use of NHS resources.”

Representatives for Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Groups say they are still looking at the provision of the sensors.

A spokeswoman said: “To ensure equality of access, we are recommending that Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring sensors are not prescribed by GPs until we have considered all the evidence and defined the patient cohort which is likely to gain most benefit from this new technology.

“Currently Coventry & Warwickshire Area Prescribing Committee has designated these sensors as a specialist-only devices and should only be initiated and prescribed through specialist secondary care clinicians.

Visit sweettilly.com or www.instagram.com/sweettilly for updates on Tilly’s battle with diabetes.

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