How can I get an insulin pump?
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published criteria for suitability to use an insulin pump. Talk to your diabetes healthcare team about whether a pump is suitable for you. You're entitled to NHS-funded insulin pump therapy if you meet the following requirements:
- Your diabetes consultant recommends that you use an insulin pump. You'll need to show that you're committed to good diabetes control; for example, by having at least four insulin injections a day, checking your blood sugar levels at least four times a day, counting carbohydrates and adjusting insulin doses.
- You meet the NICE criteria (Technology Appraisal 151 (2008)) for NHS funding. You're having frequent hypos or hypos without warning that cause anxiety and have a negative impact on your quality of life, or your HbA1c is still 69mmol/mol (8.5%) or above, despite carefully trying to manage your diabetes.
What pump types are available?
Pumps vary in colour, battery life, screen size and extra features, such as a remote control. Your healthcare team will help you choose.
How will I know how to use it?
You should receive pump training and ongoing support from your diabetes healthcare team – although in some cases you may see a different team for your pump care. You may also get support from the pump manufacturer – many have helplines. There are also support groups, such as INPUT and Insulin Pumpers.
How much does an insulin pump cost?
If you and your team decide a pump is right for you – and you meet the NICE criteria – you should be able to receive an NHS insulin pump for free. If you don’t meet the criteria, you’ll have to buy the pump and supplies yourself, except for insulin. Pumps cost around £2,000–£2,500 and should last four to eight years. Pump consumables cost about £1,500 per year.