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The cutting-edge system eliminates the need for sufferers to regularly check blood sugar levels using a monitoring device or finger-prick test. It uses a continuous glucose monitor to transmit data to an insulin pump worn on the body and calculate the dose to keep blood sugar stable.
The technology, known as a hybrid closed-loop system, has been approved for use on the NHS by the medicines watchdog.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has recommended it for patients who are unable to control their diabetes with an insulin pump or by glucose
Professor Partha Kar, national specialty advisor for diabetes at NHS England, said the system could make a huge difference to the quality of life.
He said: “This technology has been proven to give the best control for managing type 1 diabetes.
“It should make things like amputations, blindness, and kidney problems possibly a thing of the past.
“We have seen fantastic results from the real-world trials which have taken place and thank you to Nice for their review of the evidence and subsequent conclusions.”
People with type 1 diabetes struggle to control glucose levels as they do not produce enough of a hormone called insulin. The condition is not linked to lifestyle or being overweight – the drivers of type 2 diabetes.
Around 278,000 people in England and Wales have type 1 diabetes and 105,000 in England are expected to be offered the technology. Hybrid closed-loop systems for diabetes cost around £5,744 per year – a price which Nice said was too high for the NHS. It said the rollout would depend on NHS England agreeing a cost-effective price with manufacturers.
Mark Chapman, interim director of medical technology at Nice, said: “Some people with type 1 diabetes struggle to manage their condition, even though they are doing everything asked by their diabetes team.
“This technology is the best intervention to help them control their diabetes, barring a cure.
“At a time when the number of people with diabetes is rising, we have to focus on what matters most to people who use NHS services by balancing recommending the best care with value for money.”
Nikki Joule, of Diabetes UK, said: “Type 1 diabetes can take a huge mental toll, with people manually calculating how much insulin they need throughout the day.
“By automating these calculations, hybrid closed-loop technology can greatly alleviate the emotional burden of diabetes.
“We look forward to it being rolled out on the NHS and will work towards ensuring that everyone who could benefit from this life-changing technology has access to it.”
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