A life changing election promise to 130,000 Australians living with type one diabetes was honoured last week by the Albanese government. This will significantly improve the lives of Campaspe people who suffer from type one diabetes as they are now able to access state of the art equipment through a generous government subsidy.
News of this subsidy comes on the eve of National Diabetes Week (July 10-16), the major awareness program undertaken by the national authority to share information with the wider community.
This year’s theme for Diabetes Week revolves around challenging diabetes stigma. The theme is aimed at changing the conversation and challenging common beliefs people may hold about diabetes.
Kyabram District Health Service (KDHS) based Credentialled Diabetes Educators, Wendy Pogue, Antoinette O’Shaughnessy and Jane Qualmann provide almost half a century of expertise to the region’s population – and were this week celebrating the decision to honour the promise.
“It was something that both sides of government agreed to support, no matter who was elected. And, as of July 1 all people with type 1 diabetes will have the cost of continuous glucose monitoring equipment heavily subsidised,” Wendy said.
Wendy said 15 per cent of the population with diabetes are type one. Prior to this decision, only concession cardholders and those under 21 were eligible for the subsidised equipment.
The Federal government subsidy will mean a reduction in excess of $250 per month for those who did not qualify under the previous rules.
Wendy, who has 45 years of nursing experience and decided to specialise in diabetes, said there were many reasons someone might feel stigma – being misunderstood, judged, blamed or even made to feel guilty about having diabetes.
The Kyabram team works with inpatients, aged care residents and receives community-based referrals from GPs in Kyabram, along with Tatura, Rushworth, Stanhope, Tongala and, occasionally, Mooroopna.
“We have outreach clinics at Tongala and Stanhope, where we attend once or twice a month,” Wendy said.
People with diabetes will be able to easily share their information remotely – through electronically stored data – and, in turn, allow for greater capacity of the KDHS service to support clients face-to-face or via telehealth.
KDHS works in conjunction with monthly telehealth conferences with an endocrinologist (diabetes specialist) and has access to specialist services in Echuca.
Wendy said the mental impact on people with diabetes, relating to stigma surrounding the disease, can alter how people manage it and can effect a person’s physical and emotional health.
She said the message that needed to be delivered to the community was that no one “chooses to have diabetes”.
“Someone that exercises and eats well may still end up with diabetes. Type one diabetes is an auto immune condition, not related at all to lifestyle decisions,” she said.
Wendy and her team are available to answer diabetes related questions at KDHS by contacting 5857 0200.