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The diabetes ‘cure’ that Britain can’t afford

The creation of an ‘artificial’ pancreas has been billed as the biggest breakthrough since the discovery of insulin, one that would help hundreds of thousands with type 1 diabetes and slash the NHS treatment bill. So why won’t patients like me benefit, asks James Moore

Tuesday 05 December 2023 17:26 GMT
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<p>Hundreds of thousands of people living with type 1 diabetes could be offered an insulin-dispensing patch pump – or “hybrid closed-loop system” – to help them manage their condition</p>

Hundreds of thousands of people living with type 1 diabetes could be offered an insulin-dispensing patch pump – or “hybrid closed-loop system” – to help them manage their condition

For the human pin cushions among us – namely, those who keep type 1 diabetes in check with multiple injections a day (nine for me yesterday) – reports that a revolutionary ‘artificial’ pancreas has been developed and approved for NHS rollout ought to have been cause for celebration. But I won’t put the champagne on ice just yet.

The hybrid closed-loop system – which allow a continuous glucose monitor to ‘talk’ to an insulin-dispensing patch pump – has been described as the biggest treatment breakthrough since the discovery of insulin itself. Over the next five years, hundreds of thousands of people living with type 1 diabetes could be offered this next-generation technology to help them manage their condition.

Unfortunately, the NHS doesn’t have enough trained staff to administer the rollout.

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