Mon­i­tor help for di­a­betes suf­fer­ers

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - AN­NIKA SMETHURST

MORE than 17,000 Aus­tralians liv­ing with di­a­betes will be given ac­cess to wear­able glu­cose mon­i­tors, re­duc­ing the need for fin­ger-prick blood tests.

The mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem, fa­mously used by Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May, is im­planted on a per­son’s shoul­der, con­tin­u­ously check­ing their glu­cose lev­els and alert­ing pa­tients when it falls dan­ger­ously low.

The blood mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem uses sen­sors placed un­der the skin that are linked to a por­ta­ble reader or mo­bile phone, re­duc­ing the need for hourly fin­ger prick tests.

Cur­rently, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment pro­vides the con­tin­u­ous glu­cose mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems for about 20,000 pa­tients un­der the age of 21, but was yet to match a La­bor prom­ise for a broader roll­out.

Fed­eral Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt will to­day un­veil a $100 mil­lion pack­age that will ex­tend the pro­gram to an ex­tra 17,000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing preg­nant women and con­ces­sion card hold­ers over the age of 21, liv­ing with type 1 di­a­betes.

Di­a­betes Tas­ma­nia chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Caro­line Wells said that the ex­ten­sion of the pro­gram would be a great re­lief to many of the 3000 Tas­ma­ni­ans liv­ing with type 1 di­a­betes.

“It’s fab­u­lous that the pro­gram is be­ing ex­tended as it can be life chang­ing for peo­ple,” she said.

Ms Wells said the wear­able glu­cose mon­i­tors were cost pro­hib­i­tive for many, as the mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem cost about $7000 a year.

She said 400 Tas­ma­ni­ans un­der the age of 21 were al­ready be­ing pro­vided with the sys­tem, but the new mea­sure would ben­e­fit many more Tas­ma­ni­ans aged over 21 who were el­i­gi­ble.

“We have been lob­by­ing the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment about this for many years … ul­ti­mately we would like to see the sub­sidy ex­tended to ev­ery­one,” she said.

Mr Hunt said ex­pand­ing ac­cess to glu­cose mon­i­tor­ing de­vices helps re­duce stress and anx­i­ety as well as emer­gency vis­its to the hos­pi­tal.

The na­tional roll­out starts from March 1.

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