NHS to offer artificial pancreas to type 1 diabetes patients
The NHS will soon be offering an artificial pancreas to more than 100,000 people with type 1 diabetes across England and Wales. It is hoped the device will help them manage their condition more effectively, improving quality of life and reducing risk of long-term health issues.
The device is a combination of an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A sensor is placed under the skin, which automatically measures blood glucose levels. These readings are then sent to a pump, which calculates the amount of insulin required and administers it. All of this is tracked through an app, where patients can also input food intake to make the process more accurate.
Both insulin pumps and CGMs are used now, however at the moment the rate of delivery on the pump needs to be manually adjusted. This means regular checking of the patient’s glucose levels by finger prick, CGM or flash glucose monitor.
Although NICE is recommending the device, it says that a cost-effective price is still needed to be negotiated with the manufacturers. At the moment, the cost-per-device is £6,000, but NICE wants to agree on a price that will be “fair to taxpayers”.
Professor Partha Kar, a national specialty adviser for diabetes at NHS England, said, “This technology has been proven to give the best control for managing type 1 diabetes and should make things like amputations, blindness and kidney problems possibly a thing of the past. The quality of life this technology gives to those using it is huge.”