Thursday, 13 February 2020
National Diabetes Services Scheme
At the request of Senators Polley, Marielle Smith, Ciccone, O'Neill and Farrell, I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) some Australians with type 1 diabetes will benefit from the addition of flash glucose monitoring which has finally been added to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS),
(ii) the addition of the scheme occurs only after a massive year-long community campaign by Australians with type 1 diabetes and the Opposition, including the tabling of a petition of 214,000 signatures to Parliament,
(iii) instead of claiming credit for a diabetes subsidy that comes a year late, and will cover fewer people than promised, the Minister for Health, Mr Greg Hunt, should apologise to Australians with type 1 diabetes for the delay,
(iv) Minister Hunt compounded his insult to Australians with type 1 diabetes by when he would allow its addition; he claimed to have never made the promise, but people with diabetes know his promise was clear,
(v) thousands of Australians have been forced to continue a painful regimen of finger-prick testing for 12 months because of the Minister's broken promise,
(vi) the recent announcement also falls short of expectations that all Australians with type 1 diabetes would be eligible for this NDSS subsidy, and
(vii) while very welcome for these groups, thousands of Australians will still miss out on affordable access to the flash monitor;
(b) calls on Minister Hunt to apologise for the delay; and
(c) thanks all those who worked so hard for this outcome, including the petition organiser Mr Chris Slingsby-Smith.
The motion is wilfully and demonstrably false. From 1 March 2020 the government will streamline the eligibility criteria to significantly increase the number of Australians with type 1 diabetes who can access fully subsidised glucose monitoring devices through the CGM scheme—from 37,000 to 58,000. Total investment in this scheme is now over $300 million. From 1 March this year the FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring device will be listed as an alternative device to the seven devices currently listed on the scheme. This followed a thorough medical assessment, with addition to the scheme only possible after the supplier agreed to the strict listing requirements recommended by medical experts.