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NHS to offer artificial pancreas to thousands with diabetes

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More than 100,000 people with type 1 diabetes in England are to be offered an artificial pancreas as part of a new NHS scheme.

Experts believe that the technology offers the best way to manage the disease.

The body-worn monitor pumps insulin into the body whenever its needed, using an algorithm to calculate the quantity required.

A world-first NHS trial found that the device was more effective than current devices at managing diabetes, requiring less patient input.

The technology will be rolled out across the NHS in England following approval by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Mark Chapman, the interim director of medical technology at NICE, said:

“Some people living with type 1 diabetes struggle to manage their condition, even though they are doing everything asked of them by their diabetes team.

“This technology is the best intervention to help them control their diabetes, barring a cure.”

Approximately 400,000 people in the UK live with type 1 diabetes.

Their body produces very little insulin so they have to closely monitor blood glucose levels and top up their insulin levels every day using injections or a pump.

The new device does this automatically, allowing the wearer to go about their daily life without worrying about managing their condition.

Prof Partha Kar, national specialty adviser for diabetes at NHS England, said:

“This technology has been proven to give the best control for managing type 1 diabetes and should make things like amputations, blindness, and kidney problems possibly a thing of the past.

“The quality of life this technology gives to those using it is huge.”

Diabetes UK policy manager, Nikki Joule, said:

“Type 1 diabetes can take a huge mental toll, with people manually calculating how much insulin they need regularly throughout the day.

“By automating these calculations, hybrid closed-loop technology can greatly alleviate the emotional burden of diabetes.”

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