Insulin pump therapy saves £38,000 a year

Using insulin pump therapy could save PCTs up to £38,000 per 100 patients per year, UK research has shown.

The findings add to increasing evidence for the use of insulin pumps in type-1 diabetics, which has led to a re-appraisal of their use by NICE.

In this latest study, researchers observed 34 patients' use of primary and secondary care services before and after initiation of insulin pump therapy.

Data on emergency admissions, outpatient appointments, HbA1c, lipid levels and BP were collected for up to five years before and five years after insulin pump therapy began.

The reductions in primary care and hospital service use was calculated to be worth between £22,000 and £38,000 per year for 100 pump patients at current NHS tariffs.

The average measurements for HbA1c decreased from 8.84 to 7.62 per cent and for total cholesterol from 5.12 to 4.45mmol/l following insulin pump therapy.

Lead researcher Dr Thomas Ulahannan, consultant physician at the department of diabetes and endocrinology at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, said that the study showed that there were cost benefits to pump therapy.

'Patients with diabetes treated with insulin pumps can become more stable with their diabetes, thereby reducing their visits to their GP,' he said.

Dr Brian Karet, a GPSI in diabetes in Bradford, West Yorkshire, said that the use of insulin pump therapy in children could improve their quality of life immeasurably and was also useful in 'brittle' patients with frequent bouts of diabetic ketoacidosis.

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