Scottish Executive Question Time Thursday 8th Sep 2011

Insulin Pump Therapy (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Anne McTaggart (Glasgow) (Lab):

9. To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to address the level of insulin pump therapy available in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. (S4O-00120)

The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy (Nicola Sturgeon): We expect each national health service board to have a strategy covering the full range of insulin use including the availability and management of insulin pumps. Our diabetes action plan, which was published last year, made it clear that we expect all NHS boards to make sustained improvements in increasing access to insulin pump therapy in line with the latest clinical guidance.

Anne McTaggart: According to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, there are more than 700 people with type 1 diabetes in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area who could and should benefit from an insulin pump; yet, the number of people accessing pump therapy is a mere 67—only 1.1 per cent of the type 1 population. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has, to date, unfortunately failed to deliver an insulin pump service that meets the needs of the type 1 population in the area.

The Presiding Officer: Can we get to the question, Ms McTaggart?

Anne McTaggart: On behalf of those constituents, I urge the Scottish Government to make a real effort to enforce its commitment. Access to pump therapy should be boosted significantly across NHS board areas over the lifetime of the action plan.

Nicola Sturgeon: Anne McTaggart raises an important point and I credit her for doing so.

The Presiding Officer: Can we have Ms Sturgeon’s microphone on, please?

Nicola Sturgeon: Perish the thought that I cannot be heard in the chamber.

I do not think that there is any disagreement between us and our Labour colleagues about the importance of the issue. Anne McTaggart is right to cite the NICE guidelines on insulin pump therapy. She is, no doubt, aware that pump provision throughout Scotland runs at around 2.5 per cent just now—that is equivalent to just under 700 people throughout Scotland. However, eligibility criteria suggest that between 4 and 14 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes could benefit from being on an insulin pump. That is why we have asked all the NHS boards to give us their plans to increase access, which are set out in our action plan. The Scottish diabetes group closely monitors progress against those plans through the Scottish diabetes survey and, later this month, we will write to those boards that have shown less progress, asking what further action they will take. I am happy to keep Anne McTaggart updated on progress.