IT’S a revolutionary new service that could help thousands of people battle a potentially life- threatening disease.

Southampton General Hospital has launched insulin pump therapy to treat the thousands of people in the city living with type 1 diabetes.

It will mean patients no longer have to travel outside of the city to receive the treatment, which doctors believe will give patients a better quality of life.

The condition prevents the body producing enough insulin to regulate sugar levels – glucose – and affects around 400,000 people nationwide.

Too much glucose can cause organ damage and there is currently no cure, so patients have to take insulin regularly for life, traditionally through injections.

But pump therapy allows patients to control the flow of insulin using a small battery-operated device connected to a tube and tiny needle inserted under the skin.

Dr Ee-Lin Lim, consultant diabetologist at University Southampton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (UHS), pictured below, said: “This a major service development and fantastic news for people with type 1 diabetes in Southampton and the surrounding area.

“Insulin pump therapy can lead to better quality of life and improved diabetes control, which reduces the risk of low blood sugar episodes, but it still requires a great deal of commitment from patients to maintain strict monitoring of their glucose levels.

“For those patients who are dedicated to making it work, it can transform their lives and I am delighted we are now able to offer it to people with type 1 diabetes in Southampton and its surrounding area.”

She added that the launch of the service highlights the hospital’s “desire” to boost diabetes care for patients in the south.

Currently less than five per cent of sufferers use pumps in the UK compared to 10-20 per cent in Europe and 35 per cent in the USA.

Dr David Paynton, of NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “It is thanks to feedback gained from local people with diabetes, through our diabetes survey last year, that we are now able to provide this valuable service locally.”