Use of insulin pumps in UK could save NHS £22 million per year
Barbara Harpham, Chair of the Medical Technology Group, said: “Medical technology such as insulin pumps has an enormous impact, both in terms of the quality of life that it offers patients and in the cost savings to the health service and the wider economy.
“Very often a single procedure can get a patient back to work or caring for their family and can instantly eliminate thousands of pounds in longer term treatment or unplanned admissions. In fact, we have not yet tapped into the full potential of all the medical technology currently available.
“The trouble is that the up-front cost of medical technology often means patient access is being limited and cheaper short-term solutions being chosen; in other words, a false economy.
“With the NHS budget under increasing pressure, it’s time we rethink the approach to rationing medical treatments that gives people back their lives. It may look good on paper in this budget year, but doesn’t benefit patients and costs the health service more in the long run.”
Latest figures, published in the recent National Diabetes Audit, showed that 15% of people with type 1 diabetes currently use an insulin pump - around 60,000 people in the UK.
By supporting this number of people to access insulin pumps the NHS can make savings of £13.8 million to £22.8 million per year.
A significant variation in access to insulin pumps was reported, with uptake in 2017 varying from 5% to 60%. A number of Trusts reportedly had just 1 in 20 people with type 1 diabetes on an insulin pump, compared to others where the figures is closer to 7 out of 10.
The Medical Technology Group hoped the findings of their report will lead to a debate on the approach to the uptake and use of medical technology and encourage the NHS to stop “rationing” medical treatments that could improve people’s lives, whilst also making savings to medical budgets.