A POOLE schoolgirl has challenged a Dorset health chief to explain face to face why she and other young people can’t have a new, needle-free diabetes monitoring device.

Katie Watson, 12, who lives in South Western Crescent, Parkstone, and has Type 1 diabetes, currently has to prick her fingers up to eight times a day to test her blood glucose levels.

“When my dad called to say the FreeStyle Libre machine was being made available on the NHS I felt so happy,” she said. “It basically has a patch which is attached to your skin and then you have this scanner which can take a blood sugar level reading from that.”

Katie and her family believed the device – which costs around £200 a month to use - would eliminate the need for her to be woken up at night for tests which her parents, John and Paula Watson, have to do after she suffered two severe hypoglycaemic fits while she was in bed.

“If I could have a meter they can swipe over my arm, my parents can test me without having to awaken me," she said. "This will make me sleep better and I will be less tired the next morning.”

It would also help her at her school, Magna Academy. She said. “I hate asking the teacher to leave so if I had a scanner I could test discreetly in class without anyone noticing.”

Katie wrote to the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, which could sanction use of the machine, in January, but received no reply. She then emailed but again received no response.

Paula Watson said: “We were very optimistic when we heard about the machine being made available because we felt it would really help our family. I think it’s strange they haven’t even bothered to respond to Katie.”

On their website the CCG’s Medicines Advisory Group says it has decided not to fund the FreeStyle Libre because: “This treatment does not represent a cost-effective treatment option for the NHS.” It also claims its use could cost the county up to £2.86 million although this figure would appear not to take account of the cost of current treatment options.

The Daily Echo contacted the CCG whose director of quality and nursing, Sally Shead, apologised ‘unreservedly’ for their lack of response. “When we receive letters or emails from members of the public we usually respond to the sender in a timely manner; however, on this occasion we recognise this has not been the case,” she said.

However, Katie’s main plea – for young diabetics to be allowed the FreeStyle Libre - appears to have fallen on deaf ears. Ms Shead referred her to a statement already published on the CCG’s website.

Katie said: “The CCG appears to be saying that this machine wouldn’t make much of a difference. When the people who’ve made this decision have pricked their fingers eight times a day for three years, maybe they can tell us this. I’d like to challenge the CCG head to try pricking their fingers eight times a day for three weeks and see what they think of it after that.”