MSPs TO HEAR INSULIN PUMPS CAN SAVE THE NHS MONEY
Diabetes campaigners are calling on MSPs to demand that the Scottish Government increase funding for insulin pumps. The poor supply of insulin pumps in Scotland is to be highlighted in a Members Debate proposed by David Stewart MSP and will be discussed in the Parliament today.
According to the Insulin Pump Awareness Group IPAG when it comes to this treatment Scotland lags behind the rest of the developed world. Based on NICE guidelines, 10-15% of Scotland’s 27,500 Type 1 population may be eligible for Pump Therapy, yet only an estimated 1.6%, (448 people) currently have a pump. England currently has 5% on pumps although some clinics have as much as 40% receiving this treatment.
In Scotland, however, there is limited access to this groundbreaking therapy. Pump therapy is particularly effective for children because it allows much finer dose control than is possible using injections. It also makes it easier to manage insulin doses to cope with their ever-changing activity levels.
Tayside is currently top of the league with 4.2% of patients using pumps, with Ayrshire and Arran at the bottom with only 0.1%
IPAG Chair, Mary Moody stated: “there is a post-code lottery with a huge difference in the numbers of people able to access insulin pumps across Scotland’s Health Boards. This is totally unacceptable, we are campaigning for equal and increased access to this treatment which can be life-changing for the people who are lucky enough to get it.”
“We want the Scottish Parliament to commit to providing increased funding and support. One of the major issues in implementing pump therapy is lack of expertise among NHS staff. It is therefore important that training programmes are put in place quickly so that patients do not have to suffer unnecessarily. Nicola Sturgeon has already stated that she expects NHS boards to reflect the revised advice on insulin pump therapy set out by NICE (15% of people with Type 1 diabetes using pumps) and we welcome this. However, we have yet to see evidence that health boards are taking this on board across Scotland.”
A diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes reduces life expectancy by an average of 23 years. The peak age of diagnosis is between 10 and 14 years old, meaning most people with Type 1 diabetes live the rest of their life with the condition. As an auto immune condition there is nothing that can be done to prevent it.
Using insulin pump therapy can help people with diabetes to control their condition much more tightly, reducing the risk of long term complications such as blindness, amputations and heart disease.
Members of IPAG who use insulin pumps have found that their general health and quality of life has been greatly improved and the input they require from the NHS has reduced.
Quotes from pump users include: “it has been life-changing”, “I am now free to exercise without fear of a hypo”,8 “I feel like a normal person”, “I have lived with this condition for 54 years and since I got my pump I realize that I could have achieved so much more in my life if I had had one sooner”.
The mother of a teenage son with diabetes, who has been struggling to get an insulin pump for him for over a year, said "He has Highers and Advanced Highers in the next two years. We have now been told he may have to wait several months for an initial appointment and then there is a waiting list 9 which appears to be much longer than the two months quoted by Nicola Sturgeon in July. This delay could affect his whole future as he is currently struggling just to manage the basics of life".