Health written question – answered on 16th October 2006.

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Photo of Bob Spink Bob Spink Conservative, Castle Point

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) if she will give advice to primary care trusts on the number of glucose sticks diabetic patients should be prescribed in order to maintain proper control over their blood sugar levels; and if she will make a statement;

(2) if she will undertake research into the optimum number of times diabetes sufferers of various levels should test their blood; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton The Minister of State, Department of Health

There are no national clinical guidelines on the number of times a person should test their blood glucose using blood glucose testing strips.

As with any medicine or appliance the responsibility for deciding what treatment is best for the patient rests with the clinician concerned, in consultation with the patient, informed by the patient's clinical history.

Individual need, choice and circumstances dictates the most appropriate form and frequency of testing as, given the clinical nature of diabetes, there are times when it is appropriate for people to test more frequently than is usual for them.

There are two key trials evaluating the efficacy of blood glucose monitoring in the management of diabetes. The Oxford trial, sponsored through the NHS Health Technology Assessment process, is due to report in 2007 and the DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Newly Diagnosed) trial, sponsored by Diabetes UK, is due to report in the winter of 2009.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is also currently reviewing its guidelines for Type 2 Diabetes—Management of blood glucose—which will be published early next year.

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