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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 12137


Ms BURKE (Chisholm) (10:25): Around 140,000 Australians suffer from type 1 diabetes. The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, there is no known method of prevention and there is no cure. Management of type 1 diabetes requires up to 20 finger pricks daily, constant balancing of carbohydrate intake and exercise with the management of insulin dosage. Added to this is the unpredictability of the many hormone fluctuations. Management of all these factors is crucial as getting it wrong can be fatal. No parent or carer whose child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes ever sleeps again with the door closed, and the thought of a night of unbroken sleep is just a dream.

I recently met with two of my constituents, Rachel Cambrey and her 14-year-old daughter Monique, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just over three years ago. Rachel and Monique live with the constant stress and worry that careful management and monitoring of Monique's insulin brings; they both know that even the slightest lapse in attention can lead to serious negative consequences, including loss of vision, loss of limbs and organ failure. The difference between getting it right and wrong can mean life and death. It is an enormous source of anxiety for any young person and a nightmare scenario for any parent.

Terrifyingly, nocturnal hypoglycaemia is an ever present risk for people with type 1 diabetes—it is commonly referred to as dead in bed syndrome and it means that an otherwise healthy child who goes to bed with an acceptable glucose level becomes hypo in their sleep and never wakes up. The DANII Foundation was established after Danii Meads-Barlow tragically died this way. Many of us had the pleasure of meeting her phenomenal mother last night, and she is the driving force behind the DANII Foundation. Sadly, this could happen to Monique. The best possible prevention at this stage is new technology known as continuous glucose monitoring technology, or CGM. Monique was recently lucky enough to undertake a three-week trial of CGM. It was a life-changing moment for both her and her mother.

CGM is a non-invasive sensor which provides continuous glucose readings every five minutes both day and night, functioning like an artificial pancreas. An alarm indicates when the individual's glucose level is too high or too low, which is important to ensure the safety of the diabetic individual at night time when monitoring is extremely difficult. CGM is operational at a distance of six metres, which allows parents and carers to closely monitor blood glucose levels while simultaneously being able to go about their daily activities as well as not having to disturb the child during their activities.

There is currently no government subsidy for CGM, and it costs around $5,000 per year for consumables. Thus far the Minister for Health has not agreed to bring CGM in to the National Diabetes Services Scheme. The difference between being able to afford this technology and not can mean the difference between life and death. I urge the minister and the government to consider a full cost-benefit analysis of CGM technology. I am confident that a proper study will find that subsidising this technology will not only prove more efficient on the individual patient level but also lead to bigger saving across the health system as hospital presentation due to type 1 diabetes complications are significantly reduced by widespread take-up of CGM. Technology is the way that we can deal with many of these issues, and this matter needs to be addressed. (Time expired)