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Home > News & events > News > NHS pilot of hybrid closed loop systems successful in improving lives of people with type 1 diabetes
Hybrid closed loop (or artificial pancreas) systems combine a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump with a control algorithm that delivers the right amount of insulin, automatically
The NHS has today announced the success of its pilot of hybrid closed loop systems – also known as the artificial pancreas or automated insulin delivery systems – in improving the treatment outcomes and quality of life for people with type 1 diabetes.
At around 35 diabetes centres across England, 875 people have been given access to the potentially life-changing technology on the NHS for the past year.
The NHS pilot was designed to generate sufficient evidence on the effectiveness of hybrid closed loop technology.
The results could decide whether hybrid closed loop can be recommended as a standard treatment for type 1 diabetes in England and Wales.
Combining an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), a hybrid closed loop system automatically provides the right amount of insulin at the right time throughout the day and night.
The user will still need to instruct the system to give the right amount of insulin at mealtimes and around exercise – this is why it is called hybrid. This removes much of the time and effort that goes into managing type 1 diabetes, by reducing the frequency of finger prick measurements, dosage decisions and insulin injections.
JDRF is delighted to have played a major role in the advancement of this technology, through funding pioneering research, such as that led by Professor Roman Hovorka, who developed an algorithm that makes an insulin pump and CGM communicate and function together as a hybrid closed loop system.
JDRF is also funding a study to capture evidence from participants of this NHS pilot about their personal experiences using a hybrid closed loop system, through qualitative interviews. This is designed to promote the use of real-world testimony as evidence of the value of the technology, outside of simply clinical results.
JDRF-funded research such as this therefore provides further evidence that this groundbreaking technology – combined with condition-specific education and support from healthcare professionals – can have real value in improving people’s overall quality of life, as well as their blood glucose management.
Our research and advocacy have also been central to increases in the availability of CGM on the NHS, with pregnant women gaining access from November 2020.
Following JDRF input, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently recommended that everyone with type 1 diabetes should be offered a choice of CGM or flash glucose monitoring, signifying a great advancement in delivering innovative, technology-based diabetes treatments for everyone who could benefit.
NICE is carrying out an assessment of this technology, making the results of this NHS pilot an invaluable dataset that NICE can use to support its decision on whether hybrid closed loop can be recommended as a standard treatment for type 1 diabetes in England and Wales.
We hope that the fantastic results from the NHS pilot will mean that NICE recommends hybrid closed loop systems as a type 1 diabetes treatment when it publishes its appraisal of the technology in Autumn 2022.
If this happens we will continue to work with both NICE and the NHS to ensure that everyone who is eligible, could benefit, and wishes to access this cutting-edge technology is able to access it without delay.
We also urge equitable access to this life-changing technology in Scotland and Northern Ireland, so that everyone across the UK has the same opportunity to benefit from it.
Hilary Nathan, JDRF’s Director of Policy and Communications, said: “We are thrilled that this pilot has shown the value that a hybrid closed loop system can give to the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes. By reducing the risk of hypos, helping people get a better night’s sleep, and potentially making complications less likely further down the line, we know that this technology can provide real benefit for people living with the condition.
“Most importantly, JDRF supporters have made advancement possible, by funding our research over the long term into the artificial pancreas: a huge thank you for every penny raised. Collectively we will bring hybrid closed loop technology onto the NHS, free at the point of need, transforming health and wellbeing for people with type 1.”
As part of its assessment of hybrid closed loop (HCL), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today published an additional consultation on its roll out.
Insulet, the company who make Omnipod® products, has announced that their Omnipod® 5 hybrid closed loop (HCL) technology is now available in the UK.
Abbott has announced that its FreeStyle Libre® 3 sensor is now authorised to work with Ypsomed’s mylife™ YpsoPump and CamDiab’s CamAPS FX mobile app.