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New treatment for diabetic kids

27/02/2012

All eligible under 18s with type 1 diabetes will now have access to life-changing insulin pumps under plans announced today.

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 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 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."

Daisy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November 2007 when she was just 18 months old.

Daisy’s Dad Tim Slatter added:

“We immediately embarked on a strict regime of hourly blood testing, diet control and four insulin jags a day. Despite all our efforts Daisy’s blood sugar levels were still very erratic. It was obvious that such small amounts of carbohydrate or insulin could swing such a tiny frame in any direction.

“After 11 months of blood sugar highs and lows, and jags coming from all directions we finally embarked on insulin pump therapy on 29 September 2008. It really did help to stabilise Daisy’s blood sugar levels and was noticeable within hours of the pump first being fitted.

“Daisy’s sugar levels were under far better control and she was noticeably happier although she still pains a little bit when we have to change her infusion set every three days. We were so delighted that she could now eat whatever she wanted, snack whenever and treats weren’t a problem, so long as we knew how many carbs she was consuming.

“So if you feel that a better blood sugar balance might be achieved using a pump then we believe that it should be fully funded and available to all children because it will make a difference to their wellbeing.

“Daisy seems to keep smiling through whatever nature throws at her.“

Jane-Claire Judson, National Director of Diabetes UK Scotland said: “Insulin pumps are one of the most significant advances in medical technology, freeing people from the daily challenges of multiple injections, helping to reduce the risks of complications, raising quality of life and freeing up NHS time and resources. This small piece of equipment, the size of a mobile phone, can be life changing for people with Type 1 diabetes. This is why access to pumps is such an important issue for Diabetes UK Scotland and, more importantly, for those living with or supporting others with diabetes.

“Today’s announcement is very welcome news and follows years of campaigning by Diabetes UK Scotland and pump users for improved access. The announcement and the Cabinet Secretary's personal leadership on this issue will give people with Type 1 diabetes new hope that they will now have improved access to this life-changing therapy."

Jenny Hirst, Co-Chair of the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust said:

"Improving the access to insulin pump therapy will enable children, young people and adults with Type 1 diabetes to have the choice of the most suitable treatment for them, so improving their quality of life and reducing the risks of long-term complications. It is a great step forward for Scotland and is much appreciated by people with diabetes and their family carers.”

Insulin pumps constantly drip feed tiny amounts of insulin throughout the day and monitor blood levels, increasing the amount of insulin if required.

NICE Guidance on eligibility for insulin pump therapy suggests that between 4 per cent and 14 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes may benefit from treatment.

11.6 per cent of people with diabetes in Scotland have type 1 diabetes. The number of people with type 1 diabetes has increased from 26,294 in 2006 to 27,910 in 2010. There are 2,872 people under the age of 18 with type 1 diabetes.

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 the age of 40, often in childhood.