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Volume 15: debated on Monday 14 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the changeover to 100 strength in insulin for diabetics will take place.

All the United Kingdom Health Departments have given their support to the proposed introduction of insulin at the new strength of 100 units per millilitre, but its introduction and the eventual phasing out of the other strengths are the responsibility of the medical profession. Co-ordination will be undertaken by the British Diabetic Association, whose membership includes virtually all consultant diabetologists.When the new strength can be introduced will depend upon when an adequate number of re-usable glass syringes manufactured to a new British standard can be produced. This standard should shortly be available and patient trials are planned for the spring of next year. It is hoped that it will be possible to start the change-over early in 1983.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when his Department contemplates introducing disposable pocket insulin syringes for diabetics.

Disposable hypodermic syringes and needles can already be supplied through hospitals when considered essential for diabetic patients. Single-use syringes and needles have little advantage, other than convenience, over reusable ones when used by a patient following good hygienic practice. We do not therefore consider we should be justified in diverting from other NHS priorities the expenditure that would be entailed in making single-use syringes and needles generally available on prescription.