Artificial pancreas for Type 1 diabetes patients on NHS

Sir Simon Stevens has announced that an ‘artificial pancreas’ designed to revolutionise the life of people with Type 1 diabetes will be provided by the NHS.

Speaking at NHS Confederation’s conference, the NHS England chief executive said that up to 1,000 patients will benefit from a pilot of the innovative ‘closed loop technology’, which continually monitors blood glucose and automatically adjusts the amount of insulin given through a pump. It can eliminate finger prick tests and prevent life-threatening hypoglycaemic attacks.

He said: “Living with diabetes is a daily challenge for millions of people across England, and this closed loop technology has the potential to make a remarkable difference to their lives. In a year that marks a century since insulin was discovered – which revolutionised the world of diabetes – this innovation is a prime example of the NHS’s continued progress in modern medicine and technology.”

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to making non-invasive glucose monitoring technology available to 20 per cent of diabetics and all pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes. The health service delivered on these ambitions, with maternity services across the country now able to offer non invasive glucose monitors to expectant mothers and over 40 per cent of people living with Type 1 diabetes benefiting from flash glucose monitoring.

Hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery systems automatically balance blood sugar levels by constantly measuring glucose and delivering insulin directly to the bloodstream when needed. Not only does this offer better glucose control and significantly reduce the risk of hypoglycaemia, it can also relieve some of the mental burden on patients and caregivers, who otherwise must remain constantly vigilant to blood sugar levels.

Up to 1,000 patients from around 25 specialist diabetes centres in England will benefit from the pilot programme.

 

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