A new genetic test to diagnose diabetes will be deployed by NHS England (NHSE), in a move to improve diabetic care.
In addition, NHS England has announced that 280 staff will be given specific training on how to administer the test.
According to NHSE, finding monogenetic diabetes is important in preventing longer-term serious health effects as, if elevated levels of glucose remain untreated for an extended period it could cause blindness and pose greater risks of a heart attack.
The new programme is a partnership between the NHS England Diabetes Programme and the NHS Genomic Medicine Service.
Professor Partha Kar, NHS National Speciality Advisor for Diabetes, said: “We are already making progress against the goals set out in the NHS Long Term Plan for better diabetes care, and the rollout of this programme will mean more patients across the country will benefit from access to specialist genetic testing and optimised treatment.
“Monogenic diabetes is difficult to diagnose, and we will more easily be able to identify those who need to be referred for genetic testing by training teams on monogenic diabetes in each trust.
“The NHS has long been at the forefront of clinical advances in care for major diseases like diabetes – being able to spot the condition from birth is just another example of how we are helping people with the condition to live longer and healthier lives.”
NHSE has also announced that a new drug, which will lower cholesterol in patients, is set to be rolled out after a deal was agreed with Novartis, a pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland.
The drug, Inclisiran, is delivered twice a year as an injection and can be used alongside other treatments to reduce the amount of cholesterol in a patient. An estimated 300,000 patients are set to benefit from the new treatment, over the next three years.
The agreement signifies the first ‘population health agreement’ between the NHS and a commercial partner, and will be an opportunity to see if similar agreements are viable in the future.
Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of the NHS, said: “The NHS is committed to using cutting-edge treatments to save and improve patients’ lives.
“Heart disease is still one of the major killer conditions so it is fantastic that we now have such an effective and convenient treatment for those living with dangerously high cholesterol levels.
“This world-leading deal for the rollout of Inclisiran will save lives and enable hundreds of thousands of people to benefit from this revolutionary treatment, while also being fair to taxpayers”.