New arrangements for supplying subsidised products to Australians with diabetes, as well as providing information and support, will mean greater convenience for consumers, better value for money for taxpayers, and savings to the Australian Government. Importantly, there will be no cuts to the services that are currently provided to people with diabetes.
From 1 July 2016, the Government is introducing changes to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) – an Australian Government-funded scheme that provides subsidised products for people with diabetes, along with self-management information and support services.
Under the new arrangements, people with diabetes will pick up their Government-subsidised diabetes-related products – such as needles, syringes, blood glucose test strips and urine test strips, and insulin pump consumables – at the pharmacy, and no longer via Diabetes Australia. There will be no change in the range of products available, or in the co-payment for people with diabetes.
People with diabetes will continue to be able to readily access the products they need to manage their diabetes, no matter where they live. The new arrangements will give them many more locations to access products – in most cases at the same pharmacy where they get their medication.
Diabetes Australia will continue to play a key role in supporting Australians with diabetes.
These new arrangements will help people to be better informed about managing their diabetes, with the Government increasing funding for support and education programmes run by Diabetes Australia in collaboration with state and territory diabetes organisations.
In another change, people with type 2 diabetes who have not been prescribed insulin will be restricted to an initial six month supply of subsidised blood glucose test strips through the NDSS and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This follows a review of the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee into the most effective clinical use of the strips.
People with type 2 diabetes not using insulin do not need to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels with strips. If there is a clinical need they will be able to access additional strips.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with type 2 diabetes, whose numbers are disproportionately higher than non-Indigenous Australians, will still get their strips free through Aboriginal Health Services, but the six month supply limits will still apply.
These changes are in line with key objectives of the Government’s health reform agenda – namely, making it easier for consumers to deal with the health system; ensuring people have access to the products and medicines they need for quality health care; and introducing efficiencies to ease the strains on the nation’s health budget.
Efficiencies from the new supply arrangements will enable some savings to be reinvested in helping people to more effectively manage their diabetes, including through improved education and support.
Established in 1987, the NDSS is administered by Diabetes Australia and aims to improve health outcomes for people with diabetes.
The Government is encouraging people with diabetes who are not registered with the NDSS to do so. This way, they can get subsidised products and be kept up to date with the latest available information and support to help manage their condition.
More details and Information relating to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS)