27 November 2018

$100 million to support type 1 diabetes in Wide Bay

Children, pregnant women and more adults with type 1 diabetes in Wide Bay will save up to $7000 a year and enjoy improved well-being, with the Liberal Nationals Government’s announcement it will expand free access to glucose monitoring devices.

 Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien welcomed the $100 million announcement and said the investment guarantees certainty and improved quality of life people with diabetes.

“More than 770 people in Wide Bay are living with type 1 diabetes, and this additional funding for free glucose monitoring devices helps reduce stress and anxiety for them and their families,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Importantly, it also ensures they can more easily monitor their glucose levels, which will reduce the number of emergency visits to the hospital, bringing greater peace of mind and safety.”

The devices will be available to more than 37,000 eligible people with type 1 diabetes across Australia.

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 events
  • 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, that monitors the glucose levels and has an alarm that can alert people or their carer if the levels drop to low.

The Coalition 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.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said 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 Liberal Nationals Government’s strong economic management means we can make sure more patients have access to more life-saving and life-improving medicines and treatments.