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Australian Government Diabetes Activity
The Australian Government is funding a range of initiatives aimed at combating diabetes and reducing its impact on the Australian community.
The Government is committed to preventing the onset of diabetes, and to ensuring that people affected by diabetes have access to affordable, high quality treatment for their condition.
The Government has made significant investments to support the management and treatment of diabetes in the Australian community. This support includes access to medical services through the Medicare Benefits Schedule and medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The Government also supports the provision of diabetes products and services through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS). The NDSS assists people with diabetes to self-manage their condition and ensures access for individuals no matter where they reside in Australia. A further measure, the Type 1 Diabetes Insulin Pump Program, provides a means-tested subsidy to assist young people under the age of 18 years (who have type 1 diabetes) with the cost of purchasing an insulin pump.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for around nine in every ten cases of the disease and can be prevented, or delayed, through increased exercise, improved eating habits, and maintaining a healthy weight. In recognition that diseases like type 2 diabetes can be prevented, the Government is providing $872.1 million over nine years (from 2009-10) under the Council of Australian Governments National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health (NPAPH), to address the rising prevalence of lifestyle related chronic disease by laying the foundations for healthy behaviours in the daily lives of Australians.
As part of the Healthy Communities Initiative, under the NPAPH, a healthy living network web-based registration portal has been developed. The web-based registration portal provides assessment of program and services providers against a national Healthy Communities Quality Framework. The Quality Framework aims to ensure healthy lifestyle programs registered on the portal are of an appropriate standard and quality, delivered by appropriately skilled persons, risk managed and monitored and accountable for results.
Once registered, programs and service provider information is uploaded onto the portal and community members can search for activities and services in their area. This Healthy Communities Initiative provides a targeted, progressive roll out of community-based healthy lifestyle programs which aim to facilitate increased access to physical activity, healthy eating and healthy weight activities for disadvantaged groups and those not in the workforce.
The Government also supported the development of the Australian type 2 diabetes risk assessment tool, which consists of a short list of questions that, when completed, provides a guide to a patient’s current level of risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next five years.
The Lifescripts initiative provides general practice with evidence-based tools and skills to help patients address the main lifestyle risk factors for chronic disease: smoking; poor nutrition; alcohol misuse; physical inactivity; and unhealthy weight. The initiative assists with the provision of tailored advice to patients on modifying their lifestyle.
In addition, the Government has also implemented the National Gestational Diabetes Register (NGDR), administered by Diabetes Australia. The NGDR will seek to reduce future instances of type 2 diabetes by targeting Australian women (previously affected by gestational diabetes) and encouraging them to undertake regular screening for the disease.
Implementation of the Diabetes Care Project has also commenced. This three-year pilot is aimed at supporting a more consumer-centred approach to care through expanding the choices available to people with diabetes, and by providing more coordinated multidisciplinary education and care. The evaluation of the Diabetes Care Project will inform new models of care for Australians with diabetes. Additional work is also being undertaken as part of the Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program, which supports general practices to improve clinical outcomes and maintain the health of patients with chronic and complex conditions, including type 2 diabetes.
The Government understands that often people with diabetes who live in rural and remote areas require additional support. The Rural Primary Health Services Program increases access to a range of primary and allied health care services (including those provided by dieticians, podiatrists and diabetes management nurses for diabetic conditions) in rural and remote communities. In recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at particularly high risk of developing chronic diseases, the expanded Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program provides teams of specialists, GPs and allied health professionals to treat diseases, such as diabetes, in Indigenous communities.
The Government has also made significant contributions to ongoing diabetes research through the provision of National Health and Medical Research Council grants.
Additional information regarding the work of the Australian Government on diabetes can be found on the Department's Diabetes web page.
Reviewed: 8 May 2013