Cyborg Times (new BG meter)

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CurlyWurly DAFNE Graduate
NHS Lanarkshire
15 posts

At least this Christmas most adults (T1 diabetics anyway) won't struggle when asking Santa for something - I'm tempted to do that but just a bit concerned about funding the ongoing cost of the sensors.

CurlyWurly DAFNE Graduate
NHS Lanarkshire
15 posts

Looks like it went on sale to the public today!

SimonC DAFNE Graduate
NHS Harrow
78 posts


Please do continue with your review/blog - I find it very interesting, and yes would like one, but not sure I can afford to buy one myself and fund the sensors - I do think they should be available on the NHS as the data collected by them is of a greater value than just the moment snapshot that finger pricking gets (yes useful, but with obvious limitations), and so they could help reduce longer term complications as the data can be used to greater effect by the HCP's.

I suspect that Abbott would give the reader away free - If the sensors were on the NHS.

I can see that there does need to be some further work done be Abbott re the readings and advising users on the differences between BG and Interstitial Glucose and the relationship - and everyone needs to get Gov dept such as the DVLA to accept leaps forward.

Anyway - keep up the good work - and get your consultant to spread the word - esp to East Berks who seem stuck in the 1980's and really don't appear to embrace anything new.

Peter DUAG Committee Member
University College London Hospitals (UCLH)
109 posts

Now on sale here:
Abbott FreeStyle Libre system

The starter pack, containing a reader and two 14-day sensors, shows as costing £159.95, but it's offered ex-VAT to all Diabetics bringing cost down to £133.29.

Sensors are £57.95 each and again offered ex-VAT. Cost of 2 sensors ex-Vat and including postage is £101.54

Total cost for first year's operation, assuming its used constantly, comes to around £1,350.

sarahg DAFNE Graduate
South East Essex Community Healthcare
29 posts

Hi everyone, definitely agree that the DVLA should look into the new method, of testing and it would appear to give more data on where you BG levels are heading. Also the fact that it would help with better control for us T1s , so in turn would be good for NHS to allow funding.

I think this kit will be as exciting as my "first chemistry set", when it was urine in a test tube in a wooden test tube-rack in the bathroom ,a few drops of water and a magic tablet that fizzed and changed the solution to a cool blue if you had been good or a rather sickly orange if you had not . Perhaps if I had more blues as child I could ask Santa for this new tech this year.
However I do work in a lab now so still occasionally get to play with test tubes. I will take a look at the site for purchases so thanks for everyone letting us know it is ready to buy. All the best with everyone looking into this new kit and thanks Marke for your posts.

marke Site Administrator
South East Kent PCT
669 posts

Day 12:
I haven't posted in the last few days since not much has changed and there is not a huge amount to report. Apologies if I sounded a bit prima donna ish in the previous post I'm just a bit suprised. This thread has less views than one regarding 'Beer after dinner' yet this is technology that could make a big difference to people. I niavely assumed that people who had been given detailed education into their diabetes and had a number of tools to manage it would be interested in a technology that could add significantly to those tools. It seems 'generally' the majority are just not interested. Where this leaves Abbott with this technology I'm not sure. I have to say I'm a bit un-impressed by Abbott's support for the device. I first contacted them over a week ago. It took nearly a week to get a response which was largely a template and said 'ask us questions'. I did send a load of questions last Thursday and as yet have had no response whatsoever. I didn't expect instant answers to my questions but an acknowledgement would have been nice while they are working on the answers.
One thing that has just occured that is more than a bit annoying. I now have 3 days left on the sensor, when I scanned I got an error beep and the displayed a message about changing the sensor. Is this necessary ? It tells you on the display how many days remain and given the costs you are highly unlikely to remove the sensor early to put a new one on ! Every day costs so you are going to leave the sensor as late as possible before changing it, right ?
On a positive note, I haven't charged the meter for about 6 days and the battery is still about 80% charged judging by the display.

marke Site Administrator
South East Kent PCT
669 posts

Day 13:
Not a lot to say about the sensor today, the reader/meter gave me another annoying error telling me that I would have to change the sensor in two days. You have to 'click' through this before it will show you the readings. It only does this once a day but in my opinion its completely un-neccesary. I had a quick look at the website again today now that its launched and to be honest its a bit half-baked, it talks about a subscription but has no pricing details for it on the same page, it talks about training webinars but none are available and I am confused about this statement when talking about the inbuilt bolus calculator:
'Yes, the system can calculate a suggested mealtime insulin dose when using the built blood glucose in meter since it has a built-in insulin dose calculator function.'
What does this mean ? Who knows, can you use the bolus calculator with the sensor or just blood test strips, no idea.

They need some web quality control I think Smile Not anything that would necessarily stop you getting one but you would hope they would have presented a professional image.....

Simon Site Administrator
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals
563 posts

I too have been privileged enough to have a 14 day go of the new Freestyle Libre system so thought I'd add in my 2p worth...

In terms of functionality, Mark is spot on. It gives you a chart plotted against your target range of interstitial glucose readings. The time lag between blood and interstitial readings is around 20 minutes and I believe that this is accurate having used the meter over the past 2 weeks. I was a bit concerned before using it as I'd been warned about the meter being way off with glucose measurements however am pleased to say I did some finger prick tests to verify the readings I was getting and they were largely the same.

In terms of the sensor, applying it to my upper arm was painless and it's very easy to forget it's there (I too have knocked it on more than one occasion). It's also been showerproof, and I've been doing some fairly vigorous circuit training over the past couple of weeks and am pleased to say the sensor stayed attached despite copious amounts of sweat production on my part.

Having the ability to see the trend leading up to your current glucose reading is really useful and I found it helped me more accurately judge my insulin requirements (e.g. I wouldn't correct as much if I was high but on the way down) and avoid hypos.

In terms of convenience it is so much easier to swipe the sensor with the meter rather than load a strip, prick my finger, apply the blood to the strip and clean the blood after. As my confidence in the sensors readings grew I needed to do finger prick tests less and less.

I also particularly liked the fact that the meter isn't continuously monitoring; a few months ago I tried the Navigator CGM system and got really annoyed when the meter woke me up a few times during the night telling me that I was headed for a hypo when that was nowhere near the case. That said I do have good hypo awareness so perhaps a true CGM would be of benefit to those who don't have good hypo awareness.

In terms of the meter it is well built, and the chart and logbook functions are as you'd expect. One annoyance for me was the fact that you could only add food/insulin notes to the reading you've just scanned - you couldn't add them in to earlier readings or points in time. Pretty useless if you're in a hurry.

I've not yet had a chance to try the software but will give that a go and let you know my thoughts when I do.

One major sticking point that to run this will be prohibitively expensive for a large amount of people. As Peter rightly says, the annual running cost without VAT is around £1300, which in comparison to the annual cost of finger prick testing £0 is a massive difference. I'm no expert in manufacturing however would guess that the sensors only cost a tiny fraction of their retail cost to produce. Given that these meters and sensors could greatly improve the management of a persons diabetes, I'd perhaps naively hope that Abbot would make this more affordable to the end user.

Which brings me on to Abbot and their website - it is pretty shocking. There is promise of training however none is there. Subscriptions are mentioned but after an email exchange with them it seems they are not available yet with no timeframe or details of discounts. The shopping cart system asks if you are eligible for VAT relief and then doesn't apply it, instead charging you full price. It all just seems a bit cobbled together. Which would be almost excusable if they weren't wanting you to pay £1300 a year to use the system. They seriously need to sort these issues out before I will have confidence in their ability to deliver.

So, in summary... This is fantastic technology. I've only been diabetic for 8 years so have missed out on the urine tests of yore but still feel that this is so much more advanced than finger prick testing. I really believe that it could improve my quality of life and management of diabetes, and would love to use thus system full time. The two major sticking points for me are the unjustifiably high cost for the end user, and poor website Abbot have created to sell this. That said, if you do get the chance to ha e a go, I would say go for it - experience the future!

sarahg DAFNE Graduate
South East Essex Community Healthcare
29 posts

Hi Marke & Simon thanks for the heads up with the web site, I have ordered my starter pack, and would really like to use the web instructions for help with using the kit when the get it in the post. Hoping that Abotts will take on board what you guys have said and make sure it is all up and running soon. Ordering seemed fine, but as you say the standing order to place regular sensors appeared not to work, which you think would be key to them to make all the development of the kit worth while for them. Thanks for all the information on how you are getting on. Cheers

CurlyWurly DAFNE Graduate
NHS Lanarkshire
15 posts

How did you get to sample the system in the first place?

Question for Abbott: can the sensor be worn anywhere other than the arm?

What are the future plans for delivering the sensors to the users? Using a courier every month proves costly for the user - would pharmacies be an option?