Two important new updates to diabetes management

continuous glucose monitoring

Changes to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) now allow more people to access the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) products available under the scheme for free.

A new online course to support pharmacists in caring for people living with diabetes has also been launched by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and Diabetes Qualified (DQ), the training arm of Diabetes NSW & ACT.

NDSS updates

Over 37,000 Australians can now access CGM products. Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt MP announced that the Government would invest more than $100 million into the expansion of the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Initiative.

The following demographics are now able to obtain subsidised CGM products:

  • children and young people with conditions very similar to type 1 diabetes who require insulin;
  • women with type 1 diabetes who are actively planning pregnancy, pregnant or immediately post-pregnancy; and
  • people with type 1 diabetes aged 21 years or older who have concessional status, and have a high clinical need to access CGM products.

The Department of Health stressed the importance of applying the scheme in accordance with the specified eligibility to ensure that those most in need can be catered to. The Government has called for health professionals to take the necessary steps to ensure they are well-versed in the eligibility criteria before approving patient assessment forms.

There are a range of CGM products available under the scheme. The appropriate products should be selected through a consultation process by a qualified healthcare professional and the eligible patient. The Therapeutic Goods Administration approved products available under the scheme have varying indicated uses, so healthcare professionals will need to assess these before making a recommendation to each patient.

Patients can obtain the required CGM products free of charge from their local NDSS Access Point where they collect other NDSS products, such as blood glucose test strips. There are over 5,000 NDSS Access Points across Australia, mostly community pharmacies.

Community pharmacies and other health professionals that will be impacted should have received a notification from the Department of Health about the updates to the CGM Initiative.

For further information about the CGM Initiative, access the NDSS website, where you will find the eligibility criteria for each cohort and a list of available products. You can access the necessary application forms to register for the scheme along with instructions about the applications process. You can also access information about the scheme by calling the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588.

Diabetes training course

The Diabetes in Practice for Pharmacists course aims to help improve pharmacists’ health literacy to better support people living with diabetes to make informed choices about their health and thus improve health outcomes.

Diabetes in Practice for Pharmacists also supports several of the national priority actions in the recently released National Diabetes Implementation Strategy, contributing to the strategy’s goal of prioritising Australia’s response to diabetes and its complications and comorbidities, and reducing the impact of diabetes in the community.

knowledge in everyday practice and supporting patients through better engagement, asking more meaningful questions and giving advice or referring on as needed.

‘This new training program supports some of the key actions in PSA’s Pharmacists in 2023 by helping pharmacists in all practice settings have more supportive and meaningful conversations with their patients to prevent medicine misadventure and create better health outcomes,’ Dr Freeman said.

‘Diabetes is explained in simple terms using case studies and real life scenarios to provide examples of appropriate language to answer questions from a person living with diabetes about diabetes management and related products.’

The course includes interactive modules and is relevant for pharmacists, intern pharmacists and pharmacy students with a special interest in diabetes. The introductory module is free for PSA members and the course provides pharmacists with the flexibility to work at their own pace.

To access individual modules or the full course, please visit the PSA website or DQ website.

The PSA and Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA) co-developed Pharmacist Diabetes Educator career pathway also supports pharmacists providing services to people living with diabetes.