Wearable technology to be offered to thousands with type 1 diabetes in UK

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The condition affects around 270,935 people in England and 16,090 people in Wales

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published final guidance announcing a five-year roll-out of a wearable technology for patients living with type 1 diabetes.

The new hybrid closed loop systems have proven to be more effective in maintaining healthy blood glucose levels than standard care.

The new guidance followed a review of a clinical trial and real-world evidence by the University of Warwick and Warwick Medical School, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research.

Approximately 270,935 people in England and 16,090 people in Wales are living with type 1 diabetes, where a person’s blood glucose level becomes too high (hypoglycaemia) due to little production of insulin by the pancreas.

Both NICE and NHS England have agreed to offer the technology to all children and young people, women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy and those who already have an insulin pump.

Additionally, adults with an average blood sugar of 7.5% or more will be issued the technology to maintain a level of 6.5% or lower, along with adults who suffer from disabling hypoglycaemia.

The monitor works to transmit data to a body-worn insulin pump, which calculates how much insulin needs to be automatically delivered into the body by measuring the amount needed to keep blood glucose levels within a healthy range.

Eligible patients will no longer require finger prick testing or insulin injections to control blood sugar and the technology will reduce the risk of long-term complications, including blindness, amputation and kidney problems.

NICE has accepted a funding request from NHS England, which will see the technology rolled out over a five-year period, alongside specialist training for both patients and staff.

“Using hybrid closed loop systems will be a game changer for people living with type 1 diabetes…, will improve the health and well-being of patients and save the NHS money in the long term,” said professor Jonathan Benger, chief medical officer at NICE.

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