THE NHS body which plans Dorset's health care says it will not immediately authorise the prescription of a blood sugar monitoring device which diabetes patients say transforms their lives.

Despite the FreeStyle Libre flash monitoring device being licensed for use by the drug evaluation body NICE, Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group has not made it generally available although it is in adjoining counties, including Hampshire and Somerset.

And despite a new announcement from NHS England that the device - which allows Type 1 diabetics to use a pain-free scanner instead of undergoing painful pin-prick tests - should be made available on prescription from next April, DCCG says it will still not be making it widely available until that time.

It intends to continue with its own 'trial' of the device, announced last summer, which some diabetics have alleged is a 'ruse' to avoid paying for the monitor to be prescribed generally.

"At present, until there is further information available about the NHS England plans, we anticipate that the current arrangement for patients in the set cohort in Dorset to be started on the device to see if they benefit and then be evaluated to continue," said Dorset CCG. "The evaluation is due in February/March and at that time we should have more information about the NHSE plans to inform those decisions."

Dorset diabetics have long complained of a postcode lottery in which they have had to pay for the FreeStyle Libre and the CCG's refusal to fund it has already been the subject of public demonstrations by diabetics.

The CCG claimed there was 'limited data' to confirm the device would result in better controlled diabetes and that 'more data is also required to confirm effectiveness of this technology in less well controlled diabetes'.

NHS England's statement appears to directly contradict the CCG's explanation, however. A spokesman said that making available the FreeStyle Libre: "Comes as the NHS seeks to harness the power of digital technology to improve treatment and care in the long term plan, handing patients with conditions such as Type 1 diabetes the knowledge and tools to manage it themselves."

Dorset diabetic Neil Absolom, who started a petition to get the monitor prescribed in Dorset, accused the CCG of 'foot-dragging'.

He said he was delighted to know he could receive the prescription in April because it costs him £96 a month but: "I'd like to know why they are not making it available immediately."

It is estimated that the additional spend on the device 'could be up to £2m per annum' and the CCG said its decisions to date had been 'fully agreed by local clinicians.'