A GLASGOW MSP has hit out at the length of time Type 1 diabetics are being forced to wait for access to life-saving insulin pumps.

Pam Duncan-Glancy has raised concerns with the Minister for Public Health, calling for an end to the ‘Postcode lottery’ among health boards.

It comes after research from Diabetes Scotland’s ‘Diabetes Tech Can’t Wait’ campaign, found that availability of the vital equipment - known medically as hybrid closed loop technology - is disproportionately lower across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

During the Scottish Parliament’s question session on Health and Social Care, the MSP said that she had been contacted by a number of constituents highlighting the long waits they are facing for diabetes tech – stretching to more than a year in some cases.

The Labour politician said: “Diabetes is a complex condition and can lead to even more serious health issues without proper monitoring. Insulin pumps can provide a lifeline, ensuring people with diabetes can control their blood sugar levels. They can help improve and even save lives.

“But people in Glasgow are waiting too long for this crucial tech. It’s not right they’re waiting longer than people in some other parts of the country. Support like this cannot be a lottery, the results of which are decided by where you live.

“It is vitally important that the Scottish Government recognises the unfair waits of people in Glasgow and works with the local health board to address this quickly.”

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Type 1 diabetes causes blood sugar levels run high because the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Most sufferers use a regime of multiple daily insulin injections, finger-prick testing and carbohydrate counting as an alternative to survive.

Insulin pumps though release insulin into the body through a tube, avoiding the need for injections. They’ve been shown to improve blood sugar management and reduce the risk of complications like stroke, eye damage and kidney disease.

We previously told how Type 1 diabetic Katie Hindmarch has been waiting over two years for a pump. Despite achieving good control throughout the day, Katie is living with hazardous readings while she’s asleep.

Glasgow Times: Katie HindmarchKatie Hindmarch (Image: Gordon Terris)

Doctors have told the 24-year-old that a device will help her achieve better overall control of her condition, but due to lengthy waiting lists she’s no idea when she will receive one.

Katie, from Cathcart, told the Glasgow Times: “Type 1 diabetes takes over every single part of your life - and it’s not easy to live with.

“Sometimes it can feel exhausting and all consuming, especially if my levels run too high or too low, which can lead to hypoglycaemia, taking you to the brink of collapse or unconsciousness.

“I’ve been told that my levels shoot up during the night because of a hormonal spike. It basically means my blood glucose can rocket up into the high 20s, which could lead to longer term complications.

“This technology can change my life but like many others I’m being left to fight for it with no idea when I might be accepted.”

Glasgow Times: Katie HindmarchKatie Hindmarch (Image: Gordon Terris)

John Kinnear, National Director at Diabetes Scotland, says that fair and equal access to diabetes tech is vital.

He added: “We know health boards are seeing huge increases in demand and that many clinicians want to support people to access the tech they are eligible for. But right now they simply don’t have the capacity to make this a reality for everyone who needs it.

“Fair and equal access to diabetes equipment is vitally important as it aims to prevent thousands of people from developing long-term complications and frees up future NHS resources.”

A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Our specialist diabetes teams are keen to help as many people as possible have access to new technologies such as insulin pumps, which can help manage the burden of Type 1 diabetes, when combined with closed loop systems.  

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s latest financial commitment to funding in this area. This will continue to support our specialist teams to deliver the latest technology to our patients."