Making a case for choice

If you haven’t had a pump before, getting your first one can be a bit confusing, like choosing your first mobile phone. When you need your next pump, you may have stronger preferences based on the pump features you use most often or would like to have.

Please read Pump choice & user reviews before reading on.

Lack of choice at your clinic

If you want to challenge the lack of choice available from your clinic, first determine the reason for their insistence on the make of pump they offer. If staff simply haven’t been trained on the make you prefer but they are willing to be trained, you may have to wait a while for them to coordinate training with the pump company. Can you wait for this? Or is your need for a pump more urgent? If you hope to be on a pump in less than (say) 4 months from the point of your consultant’s recommendation, you may be better off asking your GP to refer you for a second opinion at a pump clinic that already offers the pump you prefer (the pump companies can tell you where their pumps are used).

Lack of choice at the hospital level

If the reason for the lack of choice is a contract at the hospital level (‘acute care trust’), it can take several months – even over a year – for a contract situation to change and it is probably most expedient to change hospitals. If you want to change hospitals, our spreadsheet from national audits shows pump uptake in different clinics and is a good place to start. You can simply ask your GP to refer you to the clinic you wish to attend, regardless of the distance from your home. If you need support on requesting the referral, or your GP refuses to refer you to the clinic you wish to attend, contact us for further advice.

Individual Funding Requests

However, if the reason for lack of availability of the pump you prefer is a restriction by your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), it won’t help to change your clinic. In this case, your diabetes team would need to make a special application for funding, typically called an Individual Funding Request (IFR), explaining why your needs are particularly different from most people who meet the NICE clinical criteria for a pump.

If your diabetes care team is prepared to submit an application for exceptional funding, aka an Individual Funding Request, for you to have a specific pump, it’s important that both you and your team read up on your CCG’s process for IFRs before initiating the application and submitting it. It should be possible to locate the relevant IFR policy with a websearch for the name of your CCG plus the phrase ‘Individual funding request’.