The Liberal National Government will expand free access to glucose monitoring devices for pregnant women, children and more adults with type 1 diabetes, saving people in up to $7,000 a year.
Federal Member for Flinders, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, welcomed the $100 million announcement and said the investment guaranties certainty.
“This additional funding over the next four years will ensure that free glucose monitoring devices will be available to over 37,000 eligible people with type 1 diabetes across Australia,” Mr Hunt said.
“Here in my electorate, approximately 850 people suffer from type 1 diabetes. Expanding access to these glucose monitoring devices helps reduce stress and anxiety, as well as emergency visits to the hospital.
“These devices will bring peace of mind to Australians with type 1 diabetes and improve their quality of life now and into the future.”
From March 1, 2019 eligibility for fully subsidised continuous glucose monitoring devices will be expanded under the National Diabetes Services Scheme to include:
- Women with type 1 diabetes who are pregnant, breastfeeding or actively planning pregnancy
- People with type 1 diabetes aged 21 years or older who have concessional status, and who have a high clinical need such as experiencing recurrent severe hypoglycaemic event.
- Children and young people with conditions similar to type 1 diabetes who require insulin. This includes a range of conditions such as cystic fibrosis related diabetes or neonatal diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks a person’s ability to produce insulin. People with this condition must be able to monitor their glucose levels day and night.
Continuous glucose monitoring devices continually monitor a person’s glucose levels and provides alerts if glucose levels drop too low.
It involves a sensor, usually attached to the stomach, which monitors the glucose levels and has an alarm that can alert people or their carer if the levels drop to low.
Our Government also plans to add the new the FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system to the scheme for these people with type 1 diabetes. This will provide patients with more choice in how they manage their diabetes through this important program.
The FreeStyle Libre device involves a sensor on the arm that monitors glucose levels and sends readings to a user’s mobile phone or diabetes management device. When a patient passes their phone or device past the sensor it provides a reading of their glucose levels.
The Government will work with Diabetes Australia and key diabetes experts to implement the expanded scheme and finalise the clinical criteria.
In line with a commitment made during the 2016 federal election, the Coalition Government has already made access to glucose monitoring products available to eligible children and young people aged under 21 years with type 1 diabetes – nearly 9,500 young Australians – through the National Diabetes Services Scheme have already taken up the free devices.
The Morrison Government’s strong economic management means we can make sure more patients have access to more life-saving and life-improving medicines and treatments.