NHS Borders welcome provision of ‘life changing’ insulin pumps

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NHS Borders have welcomed an announcement from the Scottish Government that more money will be dedicated to the provision of insulin pumps which could drastically improve the lives of youngsters with diabetes.

All eligible under 18s with type 1 diabetes will now have access to life-changing insulin pumps under plans announced last week.The pumps are small medical devices that are attached to the individual’s body and are programmed to administer the correct amount of insulin needed, removing the need for insulin injections and making the condition easier to manage.

Funding of at least £1 million will be provided to NHS Boards to help them deliver pumps to under 18s who need them, as well as tripling the amount of pumps available to all Scots. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement on Monday, February 27, alongside five year old Daisy Slatter – the youngest person in Scotland to receive a pump.

After years of multiple, daily insulin injections Daisy’s life has been dramatically improved by the medical device.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Insulin pumps mean freedom from having multiple insulin jags a day – giving Scotland’s youngest diabetics a normal childhood. By the end of March 2013, this treatment will be made available to the 480 children and teens struggling with type 1 diabetes who could benefit from it.

“Over the next three years, NHS Boards will also increase the number of insulin pumps available to all Scots to 2,000, tripling the current amount.

“Diabetes is a growing problem for Scotland – around 10 per cent of overall hospital expenditure relates to diabetes treatment and complications. Not dealing effectively with diabetes can cause long term health problems and we need to make sure that the youngest people with type 1 diabetes get the best possible treatment as early as possible.”

Acknowledging the positive impact the insulin pumps could have on youngsters in the region, Sheena Wright, NHS Borders’ director of nursing & midwifery, said: “We welcome the news that the Scottish Government is funding additional insulin pumps for under 16s.

“In the Borders we already have a well established insulin pump service and we have the highest proportion of under 16s in Scotland using insulin pumps.

“This additional funding will help us to continue to develop the service in line with the needs and expectations of our patients.

“While the pumps are not suitable for everyone, they can make life much easier for those children and teenagers who can use them.”

Just over 11 per cent of people with diabetes in Scotland have type 1 diabetes, including 2,872 people under the age of 18.

Type 1 diabetes develops when there is a severe lack of insulin in the body because most or all of the cells in the pancreas that produce it have been destroyed.

This type of diabetes usually appears in people under 40, often in childhood.