Hypoboxes Go ‘Live’

Pre-packed kits to provide instant help for patients with diabetes

All clinical areas at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) and local community hospitals are being equipped with ‘hypoboxes’ from this month, to provide treatment for patients with diabetes whose blood-glucose levels fall to potentially-dangerous levels.

The initiative by Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust means that everything from sugary food and drink to cannulae and intravenous infusions will be instantly available.

Audit suggests that around 15% of adult in-patients are diabetic – typically 30 or 40 people at NDDH alone at any one time. With national survey work suggesting that many diabetic patients are worried about going into hospital, the boxes will provide added reassurance as well as strengthening care.

The 50 boxes were provided by the North Devon Diabetes Support Group in memory of Fiona Stoate, former NDDH midwife and a diabetic since childhood, who died in 2006.
Clinical areas with the greatest need, such as A&E and Staples Ward, will have more than one box.

All boxes will be sealed. Once used, they be restocked and resealed for the next use.

Their introduction is the culmination of nearly two years’ work for the diabetes nurses, Pauline Budge, Vanessa Farrington and Tina Sommerville, dietitian Ellie Williams, consultants Ian Lewin and Alastair Watt, and Frances Goodhind from Pharmacy.

Pauline Budge said: “It’s a very simple idea but exciting to see it finally put into practice after all the hard work. It’s been a real team effort.

“We’re very grateful to the support group for making this all happen, as well as to Wilkinson’s of Barnstaple, who gave us such a good deal on the boxes.”

Training sessions for staff on the boxes and guidelines have been running since early November.

Posted in News and tagged , .

Last updated: March 6, 2018


  1. Some very negative feedback on here, 90% of diabetics hate glucogel? Really? Absolute rubbish but let’s be honest I bet most hate injecting every day as well but it doesn’t make insulin any less effective! I think it’s a great idea and if it saves just 1life it’s worth it!

  2. @Sue:
    Thank you Sue for your feedback, we appreciate your interest and comments. The Diabetes Team has been working on this project in collaboration and with the approval of Pharmacy and Procurement. The content of the hypo box has been chosen for its carbohydrate content, availability and value for money. Although the orange juice carton appears large in the picture it is actually a 200ml picnic size carton which contains the appropriate amount of carbohydrate to treat a hypo. The aim of the hypo box is to ensure that in an emergency appropriate treatment is readily accessible and ready to use immediately. We would always encourage people with diabetes to bring their own preferred hypo treatment (e.g. jelly babies) into hospital and inform their nursing team that they have it with them. However not all admissions are planned. We are auditing the use of the hypo box and will be evaluating its effectiveness. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us.

  3. As an added thought it’s even dafter having a large cartoon of orange juice as all that is needed is 15 carbs to fix a hypo so 250ml at most of orange juice. So the rest has to be dumped unless someone wants to seal the cartoon in the box to leak every where.
    Individual cartoon would be a better option if the medic’s really do think fructose is quick acting.
    A glass of squash and some glucose powder dumped in it would work a lot quicker and be a lot cheaper.
    Glucogen…. that needs to be kept in a fridge or else the shelf life is deminished by at least 8 mths.
    Glucogel ….. there are a lot cheaper alternatives available. Try some cake icing in a tube works just as quick and a lot cheaper. Oh and tastes a lot nicer as well.

    But then again with the high carb stodgy muck that’s on the menu there wouldn’t be a cat’s chance in hell of anyone going hypo in NDDH.

    The money would be better spent on educating patients and staff on diabetes management.

  4. What an odd box 90% of diabetics hate glucogel.
    Orange juice has been proven not to have a quick response for rising blood sugars.

    How about a pkt of jelly babies instead?

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