NHS rolls out “artificial pancreas” tech for diabetes patients following “successful” pilot scheme

NHS England has shared details around the roll-out of hybrid closed loop system tech, also called the ‘artificial pancreas’; a device designed to continually monitor a person’s blood glucose and transmit the readings to a delivery system (pump), which then automatically adjusts the amount of insulin delivered to the individual.

The roll-out follows a pilot of the tech deemed “successful” by NHSE, through which 835 adults and children with type 1 diabetes tried out the technology to help manage their condition.

£2.5 million has been provided to local NHS systems to support them in identifying eligible people living with the condition. Using the technology means that people will no longer need to inject themselves with insulin, with NHSE stating that the devices can also help to prevent “hypoglycaemic and hyperglycaemia attacks, which can lead to seizures, coma or even death”.

NHSE has shared user feedback, with a patient stating that the interface is “clean, clear and straightforward to grasp” and noting that “the information that is required by a pump user is readily available and not tucked away somewhere deep in a stacked menu.” Additionally, the patient praised how the system “is not overloaded with complicated options making its day-to-day use quick and easy. As a user I now spend hardly any time interacting with the system other than at mealtimes or telling it I’m heading out to exercise.”

Dr Clare Hambling, national clinical director for diabetes, has called the technology “transformative” and states that it “holds the power to redefine the lives of those with type 1 diabetes, promising a better quality of life as well as clinical outcomes.”

HTN previously covered NHSE’s five-year implementation plan for hybrid closed loop technologies here, in which the devices were called “the next step in the evolution of diabetes technology”.

We also reported on draft guidance from NICE in November last year, which saw the tech recommended to the NHS.

In other news around diabetes care, in December we highlighted Milton Keynes University Hospital’s launch of a collaboration with Milton Keynes City Council, EXI, Apple and Loughborough University which aims to help tackle diabetes through use of technology and financial incentives.