The NHS has given 875 people with type 1 diabetes a potentially life-altering artificial pancreas, in the first nationwide test of its kind in the world

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Around 35 NHS diabetes centres across the country are piloting a revolutionary hybrid closed loop system—also known as an artificial pancreas—with 875 people benefitting for a year so far.

The innovative ‘hybrid closed loop technology’ continually monitors blood glucose and automatically adjusts the amount of insulin given through a pump.

It can eliminate finger-prick tests and prevent life-threatening hypo- and hyperglycaemic attacks, which can lead to seizures, coma, or even death for people living with type 1 diabetes.

NHS experts want to discover whether the new technology can help people of all ages with diabetes to safely and effectively control their condition in a real-world setting. 

NHS data show that three in five people living with type 1 diabetes—around 175,000 people—have been given a glucose-monitoring device to help control their condition through the NHS. Yesterday, new guidance was announced that will mean that everyone living with type 1 diabetes is eligible for a lifechanging flash glucose monitor on the NHS.

‘Sci-fi-like’ technology

Professor Partha Kar, NHS National Speciality Advisor for diabetes, said: ‘Having machines monitor and deliver medication for diabetes patients sounds quite sci-fi like, but when you think of it, technology and machines are part and parcel of how we live our lives every day.

‘A device picks up your glucose levels, sends the reading across to the delivery system, and then the system kicks in to assess how much insulin is needed.

‘It is not very far away from the holy grail of a fully automated system, where people with type 1 diabetes can get on with their lives without worrying about glucose levels or medication’.

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