All diabetic patients to get free glucose sticks and meters
Health Minister Chris Fearne announced yesterday that this year all diabetics will have access to the yellow card for chronic illness and will benefit from free glucose-measuring sticks and glucose meters.
Addressing a press conference, Fearne said that 30,000 people with diabetes will be eligible for this scheme, which will amount to about 16 million sticks a year. This will come at an annual investment of about €1 million but will see benefits for the individual, who will have better monitoring of sugar levels, and also for the National Health Service, which will see a reduction in expenditure due to fewer complications from diabetes.
The national plan for diabetes was originally launched in 2016 and covers a period of five years. Fearne declared that the main aim of the plan is to provide patients with the ability to monitor their blood sugar levels themselves. The plan initially included glucosetesting sticks and meters for children suffering from type 1 diabetes. Last year glucose sticks and meters were provided for all type 1 diabetic patients and eventually included all type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients requiring insulin.
Between yesterday and the beginning of next week the scheme will be rolled out to all those with diabetes in Marsa, Hamrun and Valletta. They will receive a letter that they can present to their doctor who will give them a prescription to obtain their glucosemeasuring sticks and meters from a Pharmacy of Your Choice (POYC).
Next month, the scheme will be launched in Cottonera, Fgura, Zabbar and Zebbug and by the end of the year all those with diabetes will have access to the sticks and meter.
Fearne referred to the fact that diabetes affects between 10 and 12 per cent of the population and said that one of the main problems with the condition is the complications that arise from it, which can affect the eyes, kidneys and blood circulation. He highlighted how important it is that patients monitor and control their blood sugar levels.