Insulin pumps ‘will change children’s lives’

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HUNDREDS of children and teenagers with diabetes are to receive “life-changing” insulin pumps over the next 12 months.

An extra £1.5 million will be provided by the Scottish Government allowing 480 youngsters with type 1 diabetes to benefit from the devices.

The pumps are attached to the body and are programmed to administer the correct amount of insulin, removing the need for injections.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said they could help give youngsters with diabetes a “normal childhood”.

The charity Diabetes UK Scotland said access to insulin pumps had been “shockingly low” for too long.

But it described the £1.5 million – which comes on top of £1m announced earlier this year – as “great news”.

Almost 12 per cent of all those with diabetes in Scotland have the type 1 condition of the disease.

The number of people who suffer from this is on the rise, from around 26,300, in 2006, to 27,900 in 2010. This includes 2,870 under-18s who have type 1 diabetes.

Two years ago Scotland on Sunday publicised the plight of Amalia Holman, from Linlithgow, West Lothian, whose parents had been told they would have to wait three years for a pump.

The then four-year-old was dependent on her parents, David and Triinu, to ensure she received regular insulin injections by syringe, vital in maintaining her blood glucose levels.

Her parents found this was ineffective in stabilising her condition, and feared she could suffer serious harm or even die.

Following a campaign of lobbying, NHS Lothian revised its guidelines and cut the waiting times allowing Amalia to receive the life-changing device later that year.

Teenager Rebekah Sutherland, from the Grampian region, has already been fitted with an insulin pump. It has freed her from having to inject herself with insulin eight times a day and she told how she was “proud” of her pump, even wearing it over her ballgown at a charity event.

Jane-Claire Judson, director of Diabetes UK Scotland, said the funding meant that “every health board in Scotland should now be in a position to deliver pumps to people with type 1 diabetes who need them”.