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Pumping the benefits

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Current insulin pumps are much more sophisticated Current insulin pumps are much more sophisticated and reliable than the ‘backpack sized’ versions of the 1960s

‘Going on to an insulin pump was the best thing I ever did diabetes-wise,’ says Mary Hayes, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 45 years. ‘My first birthday and Christmas after I started on the pump were so emotional. At last, I didn’t have to inject insulin on special occasions.’ The pump also freed Ms Hayes from her fear of hypos.

Ms Hayes is the lead diabetes nurse for South and parts of Mid-Bedfordshire, and has used an insulin pump for more than 13 years. She worries that some patients who could benefit from insulin pumps cannot access them. Sometimes she feels this underuse reflects poor recognition among some health professionals and CCGs about the impact that type 1 diabetes has on patients’ lives, or the difference that pumps can make. ‘It must be hard for some healthcare staff to understand the life of someone living with type 1 diabetes,’ Ms Hayes says. ‘But I feel that diabetes, and impaired hypo awareness in particular, are poorly understood. Pumps can, for example, help people with hypo unawareness, which I know from personal experience can be terrifying.’

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