Bowen maintains pressure on flash monitors

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Shadow health minister Chris Bowen continues to remind the federal government of its commitment to fund flash monitors for Australians living with type-1 diabetes.

"Today marks eight months since March 1, the date type-1 diabetics in Australia were promised access to the Flash glucose monitor on the National Diabetes Services Scheme by this Government," he said.
"Australian diabetics deserve better."

In November last year, health minister Greg Hunt announced the government would expand funded access to continuous glucose monitoring, specifically Abbott's FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system.

He said the funding would expand access to over 37,000 eligible people from March this year under the National Diabetes Services Scheme.

Abbott's system involves a sensor on the arm that monitors glucose levels and sends readings to a user’s mobile phone or diabetes management device. 

The sensor worn on the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days is approximately the size of two stacked 20-cent coins. It captures glucose readings 24 hours a day.

A handheld reader is scanned over the sensor to get a quick and real-time glucose result in less than a second. It also displays an eight-hour history and a trend arrow that shows the direction glucose is heading.

The glucose reading can be captured through clothing and without the need to draw blood routinely. 

However, Department of Health officials appearing before Senate Estimates in April said they had been unable to finalise a "cost-effective" price with Abbott. 

"At this Government’s rate, Christmas will be here before the Flash monitor is on the NDSS," said Mr Bowen.

"Without NDSS subsidy, many diabetics cannot afford this monitor which gives diabetics a choice on how they read and monitor their glucose."