Children with type 1 diabetes in Wales missing out on insulin pumps

Mon, 21 Oct 2013
Patients with type 1 diabetes in Wales are facing long waits to be put onto insulin pump therapy.

An investigation by BBC Wales has found that a number of health boards in Wales are not correctly NICE guidelines, leaving at least 29 youngsters waiting to receive the insulin pumps they qualify for.

Having uncertainty over when insulin pump therapy will finally be granted can be a deflating experience for anyone with type 1 diabetes, particularly children, having to persevere with a therapy (multiple injections) they’re not happy with whilst clinging on to hope that their promised insulin pump will be delivered at some point.

The NICE guidelines for insulin pumps (Technology Appraisal 151) state that patients should receive funding from NHS trusts and health boards within 3 months of a successful application.

Funding and varying level of demand are some of the reasons why longer waits are happening. Some health boards may have more applications for insulin pumps than others and NHS clinics need to be able to care for each patient on an insulin pump adequately.

Cost of pump therapy is also an issue as insulin pumps have a significant up front cost of, typically in excess of £3,000 for health boards. However, the other side of the situation is that insulin pump therapy can help reduce instances of short term complications, such as severe hypoglycemia, which also cost the NHS each time treatment is needed.
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