More than 150,000 adults and children with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales are to be offered an artificial pancreas on the NHS.

Experts are hailing the groundbreaking device as a “gamechanger” that will “save lives and heartbreak”.

It is a hybrid closed-loop system and uses a hi-tech algorithm to determine the amount of insulin that should be administered and reads blood sugar levels to keep them steady.

A world-first trial on the NHS showed it was more effective at managing diabetes than current devices and required far less input from patients.

Final draft guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommends that people in England and Wales should benefit from the wearable device if their diabetes is not adequately controlled by their current pump or glucose monitor.

The decision to green-light the artificial pancreas for widespread use was announced on Tuesday at Nice’s annual conference in Manchester by Dr Sam Roberts, its chief executive.

According to the Guardian, Jonathan Benger, the chief medical officer at Nice, said: “With around 10% of the entire NHS budget being spent on diabetes, it is important for Nice to focus on what matters most by ensuring the best value for money technologies are available to healthcare professionals and patients.

“Using hybrid closed-loop systems will be a game changer for people with type 1 diabetes. By ensuring their blood glucose levels are within the recommended range, people are less likely to have complications such as disabling hypoglycaemia, strokes and heart attacks, which lead to costly NHS care. This technology will improve the health and wellbeing of patients, and save the NHS money in the long term.”

"This technology gives me the freedom to get on with my life"

Karen Addington, the chief executive of JDRF UK, a type 1 diabetes charity, hailed the announcement. “Hybrid closed-loop defines a new era for medicine,” she said. “It’s a beautiful algorithm, which will save lives and heartbreak, as well as in the long term saving NHS the cost of cardiovascular and retinal surgery, kidney dialysis and transplantation.”

She added: “Today’s announcement makes Great Britain the first country in the world to make hybrid closed-loop widely available, as England and Wales follow the lead of Scotland, who approved the use of HCL earlier in 2022.”

Colette Marshall, the chief executive of Diabetes UK, said the artificial pancreas had the potential “to transform the lives of many people with type 1 diabetes”, improving both health and quality of life.

Yasmin Hopkins, who took part in trials of the artificial pancreas, said: “From day one it was amazing. Before the closed-loop system, I would experience a lot of highs, which I’d then overcorrect, go low and eat a lot of sugar. All of that has been eradicated. This technology gives me the freedom to get on with my life and live without fear of what might happen in a few hours, days or years.”