26 July 2022

RACGP: Let’s cut red tape and allow GPs to approve glucose monitors ASAP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has today called for GPs to be allowed to approve access to subsidised glucose monitors for their patients.

In a letter to the federal Department of Health and Aged Care, the RACGP has strongly urged the Government to recognise that managing patients with type 1 diabetes within a specialist team is well within the scope of GPs across Australia.  An estimated 130,000 people have type 1 diabetes in Australia. Continuous glucose monitors allow people with diabetes to track blood sugar levels, an essential step that can help them effectively manage their condition.

RACGP President Adj. Professor Karen Price called for common sense to prevail.

“It is nonsensical that GPs can’t approve glucose monitors,” she said.

“The situation is that to apply for a subsidised continuous glucose monitoring product, the patient must fill out a form. This completed form must be certified by an authorised health professional whose usual scope of practice includes the ongoing management and care of people with type 1 diabetes.

“On 1 July this year, the Government announced that access to subsidised continuous glucose monitoring and Flash GM products for patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus would be expanded via the National Diabetes Services Scheme or NDSS. The RACGP welcomed this decision; however, the NDSS outlines that health professionals authorised to certify continuous and flash glucose monitoring access forms are those for whom diabetes is the main scope of their practice. The access form and FAQs specify that ‘NDSS cannot approve forms that have been certified by GPs’ and that ‘this is an Australian Government policy decision’.

“So, clearly this policy decision needs to be reviewed and rectified right away.”

The RACGP President called for immediate action.

“There is no point crying over spilt milk, the RACGP calls on the Government to reconsider and recognise that managing patients with diabetes within a specialist team falls squarely within the job description of GPs,” she said.

“There is no logical explanation for why other members of a healthcare team are able to sign a form approving this device, but hardworking GPs are excluded. Not only is it insulting to GPs, it creates an unnecessary barrier to patient access for something that could make a real difference in managing their health. The status quo is particularly disadvantageous for patients in rural and remote areas who rely more on their GP for overall healthcare needs. Telehealth and electronic form transmission may be helpful for some but Medicare rebates for longer phone consultations were removed at the start of this month – something else we are trying to fix.

“I also call on the Department to improve communication with general practice because it is very disappointing that the RACGP was not consulted on this decision. We appear to have once again been taken for granted, even though we are responsible for caring for people with diabetes every day.

“GPs are there for our patients managing their diabetes, and the Government needs to be there for us. Let’s chart a new course on approving glucose monitors and ensure that the role of general practice is always kept front of mind.”

The RACGP’s Vision for general practice and a sustainable healthcare system outlines a model of care that aims to address the nation’s healthcare challenges and ensure the best possible health outcomes for patients through general practice. The economic benefits of implementing the Vision show that it is a sound return on investment.

Media enquiries

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