Managing diabetes for thousands of south-west residents will now be cheaper.
The federal government has announced a subsidy of $273.1 million, cutting the cost of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for people with type one diabetes from July 1.
This means they pay a maximum of $32.50 each month to access the CGM device, saving more than $200 a month. Type one diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the immune system activates to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produces insulin.
The Warrnambool local government area (LGA) area tops the south-west with the highest number of instances of diabetes (both type one and two), with about 2050 people with type one diabetes, which is above the national average.
This is followed by 1760 people in the Glenelg LGA, 1360 in Colac-Otway, 1190 in Southern Grampians, 1110 in Corangamite and 900 in Moyne.
South West Healthcare diabetes educator Natasha Prout said affordability of the CGM device was a critical issue for many people.
"At its current cost, it's beyond the reach of many people that we see in our clinics at SWH," she said.
Warrnambool-based AMCON diabetes management services diabetes educator Ann Morris said cutting the cost would have an enormous impact. "It will have long-term health benefits, reduce hospitalisations and lower the cost burden on the health system," she said.
Mrs Morris said many people with type one diabetes couldn't afford the CGM systems, with the cut making it more affordable. "At the moment, people are paying at least $250 a month for a subscription for the CGM system; there would be a huge number who can't use it because of the cost," she said.
Mrs Morris said CGMs provided more thorough monitoring with 288 readings across a 24-hour period. She said diabetes educators had pushed for subsidies for years.
"The whole premise of the National Diabetes Services Scheme when it was set up in 1987 was to subsidise and make consumables more affordable," she said.
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