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Summary

Debates about access to diabetes technologies have usually focussed on products that patients can use to monitor and control their blood glucose levels, such as insulin pumps, and continuous  glucose monitoring. Information on these technologies, and NHS access to them, is provided below.

Insulin pumps

Insulin pumps are battery-operated devices that provide a patient with regular insulin throughout the day, through a flexible tube (cannula) inserted under the skin. As the pumps need only be changed two or three times a week, this treatment involves significantly fewer injections than manual inulin injection treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced a technology appraisal for insulin pumps, which recommends them as a treatment option, given that certain criteria are met.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring

Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) provide constant monitoring of the glucose levels in the body through analysis of the interstitial fluid (fluid between the cells under the skin). Although readings are 5-15 minutes older than readings from the blood, obtained through a finger-prick reading, the CGM process is less invasive. It also allows for more regular readings. 

NICE has produced guidelines for CGMs, but these do not have the same legal status as a technology appraisal, and there is no obligation for commissioners to provide funding.


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