NHS to provide artificial pancreas in world-first initiative

The NHS has started a world-first initiative to provide people living with type 1 diabetes with an ‘artificial pancreas’.


Type 1 diabetes causes the level of glucose in a person’s blood to become too high. It occurs when the pancreas cannot produce enough of the hormone insulin, which controls blood glucose. Consequently, people living with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin daily to keep blood glucose levels under control.

Now, the artificial pancreas will continually monitor a person’s blood glucose, automatically adjusting the amount of insulin given to them through a pump.

The rollout of the artificial pancreas follows a pilot of the technology by NHS England, which saw 835 adults and children with type 1 diabetes given devices to improve the management of their condition.

Each year, the NHS in England currently spends around £10bn a year on identifying and treating diabetes.

In a statement, Professor Partha Kar, NHS national speciality advisor for diabetes, said:  “The national roll out of Hybrid Closed Loop systems is great news for everyone with type 1 diabetes.

“The device detects your glucose levels, transmits the readings to the delivery system…which then initiates the process of determining the required insulin dosage.

“This futuristic technology not only improves medical care but also enhances the quality of life for those affected”.

The National Institute of Health Care and Excellence (NICE) approved the NHS’s roll-out of the technology in December 2023.

Since the NICE announcement, NHS England has published a five-year implementation strategy, which sets out a timeline for how local systems will provide the Hybrid Closed Loop system for eligible patients from 1 April 2024.

Local NHS systems will start identifying eligible people living with type 1 diabetes who health chiefs believe could benefit from the Hybrid Closed Loop system, or artificial pancreas, from today. There are currently 269,095 people living in England with type 1 diabetes and NHS England has provided local health systems with £2.5m to start identifying patients that can benefit.

NICE recommends the devices should be rolled out to children and young people under 18 with type 1 diabetes, pregnant women with type 1 diabetes, and adults with type 1 diabetes who have an HbA1c of 58mmol/mol (7.5 per cent) or higher.