Up to 280 children and young people with type 1 diabetes will be able to access fully subsidised insulin pumps thanks to a significant expansion of the Insulin Pump Program announced in the 2018-19 Federal Budget.
Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said the funding boost was very welcome.
“Up to 280 Australian children with Type 1 diabetes will now be able to access fully subsidised insulin pumps, up from only 66 pumps per year previously which is good news,” Professor Johnson said.
“There is extensive evidence demonstrating the improved health and quality of life benefits of insulin pump therapy for many people but when it comes to accessing this critical technology Australia lags behind many comparable countries so this is a step in the right direction.
“This is something that Diabetes Australia, in collaboration with JDRF Australia, the Australian Diabetes Society, the Australian Diabetes Educators Association and the Australian Paediatric Endocrine Group, have been advocating for over many years.”
Professor Johnson said Diabetes Australia welcomed several other measures announced in the budget.
“The Budget allocates around $14 million per year for nine years from the new Medical Research Future Fund for a Translation Research Accelerator for diabetes and heart disease which will help researchers accelerate the process of progressing research from early studies through to the human trials that are essential for the development of new medicines and technologies,” he said.
“There is $750,000 per year over four years to improve education and develop resources to help pregnant women and their families achieve a heathy weight during pregnancy. This will help Australian mums lower their risk of developing gestational diabetes.
“There is also a small allocation for some new education materials for women and families after gestational diabetes.
“Also, the Budget allocates around $11 million per year over two years to help older Australians get more active and help them prevent or manage chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes.”
Professor Johnson said the Budget did not contain funding for a number of the organisation’s key priorities including blindness and amputation preventions initiatives, expansion of the Continuous Glucose Monitoring subsidy for those aged over 21 or new funding for Flash Glucose Monitoring, however he said Diabetes Australia would continue to work with the Government on these priorities.
“While insulin pumps are subsidised up to the age of 18 and CGM is subsidised up to the age of 21, these technologies are just as life changing and potentially life-saving if you are 25 or 30 or older,” he said.
“The cost of living with diabetes is high and accessing these 21st century technologies is out of reach for too many adults with diabetes who may be at high risk and we need to address this.
“Diabetes is the single biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system and we need to do more to prevent people from developing type 2 diabetes – we still don’t see funding for evidence based programs proven to help prevent type 2 diabetes.”