More adults who have type 1 diabetes including pregnant women, and children will benefit from the federal government’s expansion of providing free access to glucose monitoring devices.
The investment of more than $100,000 million in extra funding within the next four years will ensure that devices are available to more than 37,000 eligible people who suffer from the condition.
From March 1 next year, eligibility for fully subsidised continuous glucose monitoring devices will be expanded under the National Diabetes Services Scheme to include women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or actively planning pregnancy, people aged 21 years or older who have concessional status, and who have a high clinical need such as experiencing recurrent severe hypoglycaemic events, and children and young people with conditions similar to type 1 diabetes who require insulin. This includes cystic fibrosis-related diabetes or neonatal diabetes.
The move is set to save people up to $7000 a year.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks a person’s ability to produce insulin. People must monitor their glucose levels day and night.
Devices can continually monitor a person’s glucose levels and provide alerts if levels drop too low.
It involves a sensor, usually attached to the stomach, that monitors levels, and has an alarm that can alert people or their carer if levels fall.
One of the devices added to the scheme by the government, is the FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system.
The 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.
Arncliffe personal trainer Jason Follone, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two years ago.
A regular endurance athlete and ultra-marathon competitor, he uses the app to check his blood sugar levels.
“It’s been great – it’s one less thing I have to carry around,” he said. “It’s pretty accurate.”
The government will work with Diabetes Australia and key diabetes experts to implement the expanded scheme and finalise the clinical criteria.