INPUT only hears about the delays/difficulties people face in trying to access insulin pump therapy. From what we hear, it seems like insulin pump therapy can be extremely difficult to access in Northern Ireland.
NICE TA151 has been adopted by the DHSSPSNI – link – but is not mandatory in NI like in England. However, the Department expects them to be implemented.
We wrote to the Chief Medical Officer of Northern Ireland for their policy on insulin pump therapy and what they were doing about the lack of availability. Click here to read his response.
We are pleased to see that the HSC Board has allocated additional funding of £225,000 this year (2010) to enable the health service to start 60 more patients on insulin pump therapy. However, there are currently 110 people on a waiting list, so if you are number 61 – 110, you may need to wait a bit longer. You can ask for a referral to another hospital if their waiting list is shorter.
1 June 2011 – Northern Ireland Assembly, Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Mrs Bernie McCrory (Cooperation and Working Together):
“… We are about to invest £700,000 in insulin pumps for young children who would normally have had to go into hospital to be stabilised, and so on. That will be across Northern Ireland and the border corridor.”
(Please note the Hansard report of this meeting has been deleted.)
Update March 2012:
The CAWT project purchased additional pumps for children in Summer 2011. Of these 80 were made available to the 5 Trusts in N Ireland. Information on the CAWT project is available on www.cawt.com/diabetes.
In October 2011, the Minister secured additional funding from October Monitoring to improve access to a range of specialist drugs and treatments. This funding included £2.5 million to purchase 800 additional insulin pumps for children and adults with Type 1 diabetes. Of these, 300 are for children and the remainder for adults. The expectation is that these pumps will be phased in over a period of 4 years.
If you are waiting for a pump, contact your clinician now! Provision of pumps is only half the solution – there may be difficulties finding enough trained staff to train the new pump users.