Getting an Insulin Pump

There is a high level of demand for insulin pumps but currently the UK lags behind other European countries in its provision of insulin pumps.

Insulin pumps allow greater opportunity to take control of diabetes but, because they are a more expensive option than injections, eligibility criteria exists to ensure the most suitable candidates have access to insulin pump therapy.

Funding options

There are two main options for getting an insulin pump:

  • Self funding –whereby you buy the pump and consumables
  • NHS funded –the pump is paid for by the NHS for those meeting eligibility criteria

The most common option for getting an insulin pump in the UK is to have one funded by the NHS.

Getting an insulin pump privately

If you buy the pump privately, you will need to consider the total cost, including the consumables, and ensure you have a health team with a specialism in insulin pumps.

You will need to arrange whether you will be able to receive care on the NHS or privately before going ahead with buying an insulin pump privately.

Insulin pumps tend to cost between £2,000 and £3,000 and the consumables for an insulin pump, including infusion sets, reservoirs and batteries, can cost around £1,000 to £2,000 a year.

The NHS does not operate a scheme in which it funds pumps which have been bought privately.

Getting a pump on the NHS

The process of getting an insulin pump can vary across different parts of the UK as budgets, the level of demand for pumps and the number of healthcare professionals with experience of insulin pumps can all play a part.

The advantage of applying for an insulin pump through the NHS is that you have the chance of getting the pump for free. This for most people outweighs the disadvantages of not knowing whether or when they may qualify for a pump.

The process can be as short as a few weeks but it can sometimes take several months or over a year.


  • Ensure you are in, or get transferred to, a clinic with specialists in insulin pump therapy
  • Meet the criteria set out in the NICE guidelines
  • Work with your health team to demonstrate dedication to achieving diabetes control
  • The funding stage
  • Undergoing insulin pump training