Diabetes patients across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire will benefit from new arrangements to help them control their condition.
Most Diabetics have to regularly monitor their blood glucose level.
But there are currently a bewildering array of products available that can be used to do this.
Now one product, chosen for its quality, will be used across the region after a selection process that involved patients and doctors.
It means patients, doctors, nurses and pharmacists will find Diabetes monitoring greatly simplified.
The move will benefit around 7,500 patients registered with 86 GP surgeries and could potentially save the local NHS £350,000 per year.
David Scott of Diabetes UK North Staffs was involved in the selection.
He said: “Due to the wide availability of meters there has concerns and confusion over usage. This was a really rigorous process that looked at 36 meters. We looked at quality, build and ease of use before making the final choice.
“No two meters operate in exactly the same way, and no-one can be expected to be familiar with them all. The decision should mean better management and advice for people with Diabetes.”
Dr Manir Hussain, Head of Medicines Management for North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups led the selection process.
He said: “This is a real step forward for patients and people working throughout the local health economy, including GP surgeries, hospitals and pharmacies. It means everyone can become familiar with the equipment, and training for clinicians and new patients learning to control their Diabetes will be much easier.
“Monitoring equipment will be totally free to users and should help avoid the current position where some patients buy their own testing equipment at considerable expense.
“In the next few weeks all patients who are suitable to use the new monitors will be contacted by their GP surgeries and asked to attend an upgrade clinic, where the benefits will be explained to them and training will take place.”
“The potential savings from simplifying the supply of monitors will be reinvested in the local health economy and will benefit patients in North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”
Dr Adrian Walker, a leading expert in Diabetes from the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, was closely involved in the selection.
He said: “The trials were extremely thorough and rigorous, with the emphasis on safety and education. There was always a concern that such a variety of equipment could lead to errors caused by unfamiliarity. The new equipment will be of extremely high quality, and the consistency it will bring will be a real benefit.”
The new arrangements will cover the supply of the equipment, training for staff, and a support service that will provide replacements or spare parts within 24 hours.
Most equipment works by the patient smearing a pinprick-sized quantity of blood onto a strip which is then inserted into a measuring device fitted with a digital readout The equipment selected is the WaveSense JAZZ produced by AgaMatrix
A small number of patients will continue to be supplied with alternative equipment, dependent upon clinical need