New agreement to help people manage life with diabetes

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

To mark National Diabetes Week, the Australian Government is announcing a new three-year $140 million agreement with Diabetes Australia to continue delivering the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS).

Diabetes directly affects approximately 5 per cent of Australia’s population. Sadly, 80 per cent of people report feeling shame or blame because they have the disease.

This year’s National Diabetes Week – from 11 to 17 July – seeks to address this, by changing the conversation and reducing diabetes-related stigma.

Diabetes Australia is spearheading the campaign, which asks people “Would you mind?” if you were made to feel ashamed because of a health condition.

The NDSS helps people understand and self-manage their life with diabetes. It also gives them access to services, support, and subsidised diabetes products like blood glucose testing strips, insulin syringes, insulin pump consumables, and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) products.

The NDSS currently supports nearly 1.4 million Australians with diabetes. It delivered more than 5.7 million diabetes products in 2019-20, at a cost of more than $188 million.

In addition to the NDSS, the Government subsidises essential medicines, like insulin, under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). In 2019-20, PBS expenditure on medicines for diabetes was over $632 million.

Since 2017, the scheme has also provided fully subsidised CGM products to eligible people. The Government has expanded the eligibility criteria to allow more people to benefit, and now provides fully subsidised CGM products to:

  • children and young people, under 21 years of age, with type 1 diabetes
  • children and young people with conditions very similar to type 1 diabetes, such as cystic fibrosis-related diabetes and neonatal diabetes, who require insulin
  • women with type 1 diabetes who are planning for pregnancy, pregnant or immediately post-pregnancy
  • people with type 1 diabetes aged 21 years or older who have concessional status.

These changes mean more than 58,000 Australians with type 1 diabetes are eligible to access CGM products, with funding of more than $300 million over four years.

The new agreement with Diabetes Australia also secures the future of successful programs which are making a real difference for people with diabetes, including:

  • KeepSight, a program to help prevent diabetes-related blindness by making it easier for people with diabetes to get their eyes checked
  • Diabetes in Schools, which provides nationally consistent information and training for parents and families, principals, school staff and health professionals, so students with type 1 diabetes can be supported to manage their condition at school, and
  • FootForward, a new program to help people with diabetes understand the importance of getting their feet checked, to avoid foot problems that can lead to amputation.

The Government’s commitment to supporting Australians with diabetes extends well beyond the NDSS.

We recognise the importance of clinical research and how it provides an important opportunity to identify better ways to prevent, treat and manage diabetes.

Since 2010, the National Health and Medical Research Council has provided $626 million for diabetes research. Since its inception, the Medical Research Future Fund has invested $78 million in diabetes research. This includes $25 million to JDRF Australia (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) for the Australian Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network.

Work is also under way on an updated Australian National Diabetes Strategy to outline the national response to diabetes and better coordinate and target existing resources across all levels of government. The strategy will span 2021-2030 and is expected later this year.

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