asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the view of his Chief Medical Officer on the findings of Peacock et. al. reported in the BritishMedical Journal of 24 November 1979, namely, that s/monitoring blood glucose concentrations at home produces greater understanding and motivation among patients, improves control early in pregnancy, and shortens time spent in hospital; if he is satisfied with the availability of blood glucose measuring machines available for pregnant diabetics through the National Health Service; and if he will publish in the Official Report estimates of the proportion of the total number of blood glucose monitoring machines that have been purchased by the National Health Service.
The Department accepts the evidence that good control of diabetic patients reduces the likelihood of complications, including a reduction in maternal, foetal and neo-natal morbidity and mortality in the case of pregnant diabetics. The way in which this control is achieved is a matter for the clinical judgment of the doctor in charge. At a recent conference, in which officials of the Department participated, evidence was presented that this could be done by the use of home blood glucose monitoring, but it could also be done by reading reagent strips by eye, by sending samples of post for analysis in the laboratory or by more frequent out-patient or domiciliary contacts between the patient and the diabetic unit. Research is continuing on the advantages and drawbacks of the different methods. Blood glucose monitors may be made available by area health authorities to patients on the prescription of a hospital consultant. It is for the area health authority to decide in the light of local priorities and resources how many machines may be so provided. Information is not available on the proportion of blood glucose monitors purchased by health authorities.