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15 per cent could be on pumps in Scotland

Scotland could eventually have another 3,500 people using Insulin Pumps if new relaxed guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) gets the go-ahead.

NICE Guidance published in 2003 estimated that the percentage of people requiring pump therapy in the UK would be around one to two per cent. However, despite Scotland having the third highest level of Type 1 diabetes in the world, just over one per cent (326) of people with Type 1 diabetes use pumps compared to 2 per cent in the UK (6,000).

Inconsistent delivery of pumps

A debate in the Scottish Parliament heard that despite all Scottish Health Boards having Insulin Strategies, the delivery of pumps was fragmented and all too often not able to meet the needs of people whose diabetes has been difficult to control. The motion proposed by David Stewart MSP raised awareness of fellow MSPs to the need for removing restrictions in accessing insulin pump therapy.

"NICE is reviewing its technology assessment, which might mean that around 15 per cent of people with Type 1 diabetes could be considered eligible for an insulin pump", said Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon, giving an indication of possible future guidance.

Improving quality of lives

Supporting another 3,500 insulin pump patients in Scotland will present considerable challenges to the NHS not at least in ensuring good structured education is available as well as ensuring local resources and fully trained staff are in place to deliver the service.

“Although pumps are not necessary or recommended for all people who manage their diabetes with insulin, many more people with Type 1 diabetes in Scotland will fit the criteria and a pump could change their life", added Audrey Birt, National Director of Diabetes UK Scotland.

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