The 58,000 Australians with type 1 diabetes will have access to the Freestyle Libre Flash glucose monitoring system.
Health Minister Greg Hunt made this announcement recently. In addition, government also announced it will streamline eligibility for the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) initiative, part of the National Diabetes Services Scheme, making it easier for more people to access life-changing diabetes monitoring technology.
From 1 March, 2020, the clinical criteria for the CGM initiative will be simplified, allowing people with type 1 diabetes aged over 21 who have a valid concession card to access free, life changing glucose monitoring devices.
This access extends to children and young people aged under 21 years with type 1 diabetes; women with type 1 diabetes who are planning for pregnancy, pregnant, or immediately post pregnancy; children and young people with conditions very similar to type 1 diabetes, such as cystic fibrosis-related diabetes and neonatal diabetes, who require insulin; and people with type 1 diabetes aged 21 years or older and who have concessional status.
“Today’s announcement means that around 50 per cent of all people with type 1 diabetes in Australia will now have free access to this technology,” Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said.
Continuous and flash glucose monitors are small wearable devices that monitor glucose levels automatically, providing readings every few minutes. People with diabetes can see their glucose levels using apps on their smart phones.
Both continuous and flash glucose monitoring devices reduce the need for finger prick checks and give a lot more information to the person with type 1 diabetes and their healthcare team about glucose trends and “time on range” for glucose levels.
Australian Diabetes Society CEO Associate Professor Sof Andrikopoulos says continuous and flash glucose monitoring can help prevent or reduce the very serious impact of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose), which has the potential to lead to unconsciousness and coma.
“Treating severe hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels) can cost the health system almost $15,000 if the person requires hospitalisation,” Australian Diabetes Educators Association CEO Susan Davidson Ms Davidson said.