Real-time continuous glucose monitors (rt-CGM) are now more widely available for people with type 1 diabetes, NHS England has announced.

Dexcom ONE will be available on prescription for people with type 1 diabetes in England, with patients able to access a starter pack through their GP or local hospital. Once prescribed, pharmacists will be able to issue repeat prescriptions.

The wearable arm gadget sends information to a mobile app and allows diabetes patients to track their glucose levels without having to scan or take a finger prick test.

Traditionally, continuous glucose monitors have been more expensive than their flash monitor counterparts, but NHS England said that it had agreed a ‘cost-effective deal’ with the manufacturer to make the device available for NHS patients on prescription at a similar price.

The monitor attaches to the arm for up to 10 days and measures glucose levels from just under the skin.

Dr Partha Kar, national speciality advisor for diabetes and obesity, described it as a ‘huge step forward’ for type 1 diabetes care and said the monitors would be ‘life-changing’ for anyone with the illness.

Former prime minister Theresa May, who has type 1 diabetes, added that CGM made ‘a huge difference’ to people living with diabetes and was ‘truly transformational’.

Health minister James Morris said such technology would reduce pressure on the NHS and improve health outcomes for patients. ‘We’re determined to harness the latest technology to improve healthcare across the country. Thanks to the NHS for negotiating this great deal which delivers value for money and benefits patients,’ he said.

Karen Baxter, vice president, UK & Ireland, Benelux, France and Spain at Dexcom, added: ‘The addition of Dexcom ONE to the NHS England drug tariff is enormous progress towards improving the choice of diabetes tech, providing an alternative to burdensome finger pricks and scanning.’

NICE guidance published in June on diagnosing and managing adults with type 1 diabetes said clinicians should ‘offer adults with type 1 diabetes a choice of rtCGM or intermittently scanned continuous glucose monitoring (isCGM, commonly referred to as ‘flash’)’.

Further guidance on type 2 diabetes in adults also recommended extending the use of ‘flash’ monitoring to adults with type 2 diabetes on ‘multiple daily’ insulin therapy in certain conditions.

Following the update, all type 1 diabetes patients became eligible for real-time or ‘flash’ glucose monitors earlier this year, NHS England announced.

Diabetes UK warned earlier this year that integrated Care Systems (ICSs) must urgently draw up plans to catch up on the backlog of diabetes care, with concerns people with the condition were not accessing services as needed.