All di­a­betic pa­tients to get free glu­cose sticks and me­ters

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

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.

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