Disability news

Artificial pancreas hailed a ‘landmark’ for diabetics

a person using an artificial pancreas

People living with type 1 diabetes are going to be offered an artificial pancreas to help them control their condition.

The device calculates how much insulin is being pumped around the body by using a glucose sensor inserted underneath the skin.

Thousands of people living with the condition will be contacted by the NHS from later this month, but it could take up to five years until everybody is offered to use the system as staff need to be trained on how to operate them and it will take time to meet the demand.

A number of diabetics participated in trials, known as a hybrid closed loop system, with positive results, their risks of long-term health conditions were reduced and they had a better quality of life.

Towards the end of 2023, the NHS were told by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence [NICE] the system should be offered to patients.

Around 300,000 people across the UK live with type 1 diabetes, including 29,000 children, who are unable to produce insulin - which turns food into energy.

To compensate they have to give themselves insulin on a daily basis, either by injection or using a pump.

But thanks to the new device this could become a thing of the past.

The artificial pancreas automatically monitors blood sugar levels and sends the readings wirelessly to a pump that calculates how much insulin is required.

Diabetics can then monitor their readings on a phone app, which also allows them to input how much carbohydrates they consume at meal times.

Failing to control glucose levels can lead to serious health issues if you are diabetic, you can fall into unconsciousness and it can be fatal.

The device also lowers the risk of other complications such as heart disease, kidney disease and sight problems.

Prof Patha Kar, NHS national speciality advisor for diabetes, said the news was "great news for everyone with type 1 diabetes".

"This futuristic technology not only improves medical care but also enhances the quality of life for those affected,"

Dr Clare Hambling, NHS England diabetes clinical director, believes the device "holds the power to redefine the lives" of people with type 1 diabetes.

She told BBC News: "Type 1 diabetes is an easily missed diagnosis, so if you are concerned about symptoms - the four 'T's - going to the toilet, passing urine more frequently, with thirst, feeling tired and getting thinner, please come forward for support."

Colette Marshall, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said:  "It's incredibly exciting to see this technology being rolled out.

"This really is a landmark moment."

[ The NHS will set out a five-year plan for how to provide the artificial pancreas for those who are eligible. ]

Related Articles

Help support us continuing our groundbreaking work. Make a donation to help with our running costs, and support us with continuing to bring you all the latest news, reviews and accessibility reports. Become a supporter or sponsor of Able2UK today!

Able2UK Logo