We asked. You said.

Last month we asked you to share your thoughts on products you would like to see the Australian Government subsidise through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS). Thank you to those who provided feedback. Read on to find which areas were of greatest importance to you.

Diabetes Queensland used its submission to the Department of Health to voice the concerns of our members about several products that are not currently or adequately subsidised.

 Your feedback clearly told us that when it came to managing your diabetes, the expensive equipment and technology was unaffordable, and the small expenses quickly added up to become big ticket items in your weekly budget. That’s why we asked that lancets be added to the subsidy list.

We want to ensure that the decision about changing a lancet, is a decision about what’s best for your health, not about affordability. In a recent social media poll nearly 55% of respondents told us they were using the same lancet 20 or more times to economise. So this is definitely something we wanted to highlight on your behalf.

Similarly, we asked for the BD AutoShield to be covered, because it is so helpful to people with needle phobia or medical tremors. Unsubsidised, it is often not even an option. 

Technology is one of the areas we hear most about from our members. We understand that technology like Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is beneficial to your health but the costs can be prohibitive. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to both amend the criteria for access to CGM, and to add Freestyle Libre to the subsidy list alongside CGM.

While we welcome the subsidies currently available we are asking the Government to radically change its approval process, so that CGM technology becomes universally available and affordable. We see this as an essential change required to support effective diabetes management for individuals and health providers.

The great advantage of the Freestyle Libre is that it can be used in ‘pulses’ or in constant use. Even periodic use can identify the best management practises, and help to stabilise issues experienced, reducing the risks of preventable hospitalisation and complications of diabetes. However, it costs about $100 a fortnight to run.

Diabetes Queensland has asked for Freestyle Libre to be made affordable and accessible to all people requiring insulin for their diabetes, in consultation with their health professionals. We have also described its importance to particular groups such as first time insulin-users, those experiencing repeated hypoglycaemic episodes, people managing diabetes alongside other health conditions, women with gestational diabetes, people in aged care and disability facilities, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Diabetes Queensland used its submission to highlight how technology can help reduce the psychological impact of the constant and unending management of diabetes. Having access to affordable technology can positively affect a person’s physical and mental health, reduce the risk of diabetes related complications and the health burdens which are associated with managing the condition.

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