Monitor help for diabetes sufferers
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.