Strategy for hybrid closed loop tech recognises it as “next step in evolution of diabetes technology”

NHS England has published a five-year implementation strategy for hybrid closed loop (HCL) technologies, recognising them as “the next step in the evolution of diabetes technology”, but noting the “clinical capacity constraints in the NHS, and ongoing workforce specialist training requirements” involved in implementation.

The strategy is designed to provide eligible patients across England with “equitable and fair access” to HCL technologies at cost-effective prices.

It is based on six overarching principles: initial rollout to Type 1 diabetes patients with the greatest need; delivery from specialist centres with paediatric units as “the optimal place to start implementation”; alignment between representative groups, specialist centres and manufacturers on education and training to support access; phasing-in in an “equitable and sustainable manner” to avoid exacerbation of health inequalities; ensuring NHS bodies “will only purchase HCL technologies in line with the recommendation set out in the NICE technology appraisal”; and transparent implementation supported by data.

Actions to be taken by the NHS as part of delivering the strategy will include the establishing of a national framework of HCL technologies for ICBs and providers to purchase from, making a contribution to the costs of HCL and reimbursement funding, making professional training available on HCL management, developing robust reporting processes through the National Diabetes Audit and National Paediatric Diabetes Audit, and developing ICB delivery plans to set out how the needs of local eligible populations will be met.

On delivery, the strategy sets out plans for the HCL rollout to have “robust and transparent governance processes accountable to the Diabetes Programme Board”, and promises “stringent review” to ensure equitable rollout. It also outlines specific roles and responsibilities for NHS England, acute trusts, ICBs, suppliers, people living with Type 1 diabetes, and professional and patient representative groups.

To read the strategy in full, please click here.

In related news, NHS England has written to trusts, ICBs, and regional directors, outlining updates on planning for 2024/25. The letter states that although expectations and priorities for 2024/25 will not be published until later in the new year; “initial planning returns will be expected by the end of February” from providers.

Elsewhere, NHS England has published a £16 million prior information notice for the provision of “Tiger Teams” to support electronic patient record delivery.