Skip to main content

JDRF is undergoing a transformation.
We are becoming Breakthrough T1D in October.

breakthrought1d logo

Can I get an insulin pump on the NHS?

In England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland you can get an insulin pump providing you meet certain criteria.
Content last reviewed and updated: 13.03.2024

Who qualifies for an insulin pump on the NHS?

England and Wales

If you meet the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) criteria and your consultant recommends you for pump therapy, you have a right under the NHS Constitution to access it on the NHS. If, for any reason, this is refused, contact us.

Which insulin pumps are available on the NHS?

There are many insulin pumps available on the NHS:

Tethered pumps

  • Medtronic 640G, 670G and 780G
  • Tandem t:slim
  • Dana R, RS, I
  • Ypsomed myLife YpsoPump

Patch or micro pumps:

  • Insulet OmniPod Dash and OmniPod 5
  • Medtrum Touchcare Nano

Not all brands are available in all areas or all clinics. Speak to your Diabetes Healthcare Team about what is available to you. If your choice of pump is not available in your clinic, contact us for more information.

Getting a recommendation from your consultant

Only a specialist team can decide if you are suitable for insulin pump therapy, so speak to your Diabetes Healthcare Team. If you don’t have a Diabetes Healthcare Team, ask your GP to refer you to a pump-friendly clinic – this doesn’t have to be your nearest one. You might want to go to a clinic close to where you work or one that you know offers the brand of pump you want

Your consultant will then recommend you for pump therapy. They will recommend you if you have a clinical need for an insulin pump and have the necessary commitment and skills to use the technology safely and effectively. This is because using a pump takes training and time to learn how to use it properly.

To get a recommendation, you’ll need to demonstrate your commitment to diabetes management such as:

  • You stick to your multiple daily injections (four or more injections a day)
  • You check your glucose levels four or more times a day, either with finger-prick tests or with your flash or CGM, and act on results
  • You count carbohydrates and adjust mealtime insulin doses
  • You adjust insulin for things like exercise, illness, stress
  • You keep and review diabetes self-care logs

You may need to learn more about diabetes management in order to get a consultant’s recommendation. Some hospitals require pump candidates to take a Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) course or similar training, but NICE only specifies ‘structured education’. You may have to wait up to a few months for training, depending on staff resources, but you can learn certain things, like how to carb count at home.

Meeting the NICE criteria

Check if you meet NICE criteria for NHS funding:

  • you are under 12 years old and multiple daily injections are inappropriate or impractical
  • you are aged 12 or above and have repeated and unpredictable hypos, that results in persistent anxiety about recurrence and has a significant impact on quality of life
  • your HbA1c is still 8.5% (69 mmols/mol) or above despite carefully trying to manage your diabetes, including the use of modern longer acting insulins

Read the full NICE guidance for more detail.

What to do if you don’t meet the NICE criteria

If you don’t meet the NICE criteria, you and your clinic might be able to make a case for NHS funding if you fall under criteria recommended by the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists (ABCD).

ABCD recommends that insulin pump therapy is considered in the following situations:

  • Pregnancy
  • Acute painful neuropathy or symptomatic autonomic neuropathy
  • Hypoglycaemia unawareness
  • Extreme insulin sensitivity or resistance
  • Needle phobia
  • Specific quality of life issues including fear of hypos, not being able to exercise or eat properly, sub-optimal school performance or exclusion from school life

Read the full NICE guidance for more detail.

What if your consultant won’t give you a recommendation?

If you meet the NICE criteria but your consultant does not think you are suitable for pump therapy, here are a few things to try.

Ask lots of questions

Why do they think you are unsuitable? What changes do they think will improve your diabetes management without a pump? What can you do to make yourself suitable? Is there another consultant in the clinic who is more familiar with pump therapy?

Consider their decision

Is the consultant’s assessment fair and sensible? Do suggestions for improved control seem realistic and practical? Do you have unrealistic expectations? Can you work with your clinic to get a pump recommendation in future?

Ask your GP to refer you to a pump-specialist clinic

You have the right to ask your GP to refer you to any NHS hospital for a second opinion. If they won’t, contact us or your MP for further help and advice.

What happens when funding is arranged?

Your Diabetes Healthcare Team will contact the local health commissioners to arrange funding, and will then arrange your pump training.

If you have to wait longer than six months for your training, ask your Diabetes Healthcare Team to find out why it is taking so long, and contact us.

Ongoing learning is an important aspect of living with pump therapy, especially in the first few months. You can connect with experienced pump users online or in person, or attend one of our Discovery Events to find out more about pumps and talk to the companies that make them.

For more detailed information, read the NICE guidelines.

Northern Ireland

The guidance for Northern Ireland is the same as that outlined above. However, it is not yet as widely available as it should be.


Children, young people and adults should be offered insulin pump therapy if:

  • They are unable to achieve their blood glucose targets
  • They experience recurring episodes of severe hypoglycaemia
  • They have very low basal insulin requirements (such as infants and very young children), where even small doses of basal insulin may cause hypoglycaemia
  • They have undertaken structured education, such as a DAFNE or BERTIE Diabetes course

Read the guidance for accessing insulin pumps in Scotland.

What is JDRF doing to widen access to insulin pumps?

One of our main goals at JDRF is to make sure that everyone with type 1 diabetes who wants or needs an insulin pump is able to get one – for free. Read more about our treatment advocacy work and how you can support us.

More helpful information

Read more
Illustration of the hybrid closed loop technology system, funded as part of treatment research for type 1 diabetes by JDRF.

Can I get hybrid closed loop technology on the NHS?

Hybrid closed loop technology, also known as the artificial pancreas, is not widely available on the NHS across the four nations of the UK but we’re making significant progress to make it available.

Read more
A man showing his glucose monitor - a key treatment and technology for type 1 diabetes

Can I get a continuous glucose monitor on the NHS?

You can get access to a continuous glucose monitor on the NHS but it differs across the four nations of the UK – an issue that we’re working to change.

Read more
Jamie Lowe using a flash glucose monitor

Can I get flash glucose monitoring on the NHS?

If you have type 1 diabetes and live in England and Wales you are entitled to flash glucose sensing on the NHS (also known by its brand name the Freestyle Libre).

Read more
An illustration of a hybrid closed loop system.

Making treatments available

Our international research programme means that life-changing treatments and developments for type 1 diabetes are in clinical trials around the world.

Explore other type 1 tech

Read more

Smart insulin pens

A smart insulin pen is a reusable self-injection pen, which records information about how much insulin you inject and the timing of it.

Read more

Blood glucose meters

Blood glucose meters measure the amount of glucose in the blood. They are an important part of managing your blood glucose levels.

Read more

Continuous glucose monitoring

Continuous glucose monitoring can help you manage your glucose levels in real-time and relieve the burden of having to do multiple finger prick tests throughout the day.

Read more

Flash glucose monitoring

A flash glucose monitor is a small wearable device that you scan with a reader or mobile phone to check your glucose levels.

Read more

Hybrid closed loop (artificial pancreas)

Hybrid closed loop technology – also known as the artificial pancreas – automates many of the decisions that you have to make on a daily basis when you have type 1 diabetes.

Read more

Open source and DIY systems

Open source and DIY systems are sometimes used by people with type 1 diabetes or people caring for someone with type 1 to help manage the condition.

Read more

Apps for managing type 1 diabetes

Apps can help you manage type 1 diabetes, from logging your insulin doses, glucose levels and the food you eat, to helping you count carbs and order prescriptions.