This National Diabetes Week, the Turnbull Government needs to do more to give people living with diabetes the technology they need to improve their lives.
Labor has written to the Prime Minister urging him to improve access to life-saving technologies for Australians with Type 1 diabetes through better funding for continuous glucose monitoring, or CGM.
These devices continually monitor blood glucose levels through sensors placed under the skin, linked to hand-held devices such as mobile phones or insulin pumps.
At the last election Labor committed to roll out the technology to high-risk groups – such as those with life-threatening hypoglycaemia, and pregnant women – and those aged under 21.
The Government failed to match this commitment, and while younger Australians have been given access, too many Australians have been left without the means to access these life saving devices.
At its most extreme, hypoglycaemia can be deadly. Complications of Type 1 diabetes can also include kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease, stroke and blindness.
Making these devices more widely available also makes economic sense, given a single severe hypoglycaemic event can cost more than $18,000 in health care and productivity costs.
More importantly, they can provide reassurance, peace of mind and better quality of life for Australians living with diabetes – and can give them more freedom and control of their diabetes.
If the Government can find $17 billion to give to the big banks in a corporate tax cut – they should find a fraction of this to improve the lives of Australians living with diabetes.