Campaigners call for routine insulin pump use

Scottish diabetes group says patients who’d benefit are not getting pumps and monitors on the NHS

Thursday 25th July 2019

A campaign organisation raising awareness of technology for people in Scotland with diabetes says everyone diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes should be offered access to a diabetes pump and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) immediately.

The chair of IPAG, Mary Moody, says, despite making the condition easier to manage and cutting risks, only just over one in ten people who might benefit from a pump are being offered one:

“I think that technology should be a treatment option from day one. At the moment it isn’t. It doesn’t really come onto the agenda until a patient has a problem that can’t be dealt with in any other way, or until they find out about it themselves and make a case to have it.”

Managing sugar levels in the blood is essential for people with diabetes to avoid a variety of serious life-limiting and sometimes life threatening, complications.

In Type 1 diabetes, a person’s pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to regulate their blood sugar. For those diagnosed with Type 1, often at a young age, the ability to manage their condition by constantly monitoring their blood sugar levels, getting the results on their phone or a reader, and introducing insulin when necessary, makes the difference between an active life and, sometimes severe complications.

In a podcast interview with healthandcare.scot, Ms Moody says the traditional approach of testing finger-prick blood samples and injecting insulin through a needle takes its toll.

“There is a popular term that goes around these days called ‘diabetes burnout’. It is such hard work. Diabetes is a very complex condition and it is hard to manage properly. It is very hard indeed. So these people, I think, deserve the opportunity to have some technology that is going to make their lives a little easier and give them time to do normal things rather than worrying all the time about their blood glucose, reduce their anxiety and improve their mental health generally.”

IPAG says that, while insulin pumps and CGM technology are more expensive than traditional approaches, the technology helps people avoid complications that would cost the NHS far more.

And Ms Moody says every person with Type 1 diabetes should be able to know whether their blood sugar levels are safe at any time:

“If they’re not using CGM … they don’t know what is going on in between their finger pricks. It’s almost like driving a car in the dark with no headlights: you just don’t have a clue what is happening and if you only test four times a day, you’ve got almost 23 hours and 59 minutes in a day where you don’t know what’s going on.”

 

You can find out about the daily challenges of managing Type 1 diabetes and the technologies that people are now using by listening to Mary Moody’s podcast interview with healthandcare.scot