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Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1080


Dr ALY (Cowan) (16:40): I really enjoyed the member for Berowra's contribution. I wish I could sit down and have a discussion with him. So perhaps we can do that in private.

Today I want to talk about type 1 diabetes, which is an issue that I've taken up that is very close to my heart. This year my husband, David, and I were once again honoured to be invited to attend the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation gala dinner in Perth and to hear from a range of speakers, including the CEO Mike Wilson, who does a wonderful job in raising awareness of type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disorder that is not associated with lifestyle. We still don't know where it comes from.

At the gala we also heard from a young lady, named Ayesha Razvi, who talked to us about her trials of living with type 1 diabetes. Also at that event, we heard from the CEO Mike Wilson and some other contributors about some of the trials of young people in accessing continuous glucose monitors. I must commend the government for making continuous glucose monitors more available to people suffering from type 1 diabetes. However, the conditions for accessing continuous glucose monitors are such that, after the age of 21, young people no longer have access to the CGMs. We heard at the JDRF gala dinner that for some young people the only way they can get access to the continuous glucose monitors after the age of 21 is to allow themselves to go into a hypoglycaemic state, which requires either ambulance attendance or hospitalisation. Once they've done that they again become eligible to access the funding for the continuous glucose monitors. This situation means that young people are putting their lives at risk to access these life-saving monitors that help them to manage their diabetes and that they've spent some years getting used to. Consequentially, I wrote to the health minister, asking him to consider increasing access to continuous glucose monitors for people over the age of 21 who may be in financial hardship and unable to afford them so that they don't risk their lives by deliberately going into hypoglycaemic incidents where they have to be hospitalised or where an ambulance has to attend.

Typically, type 1 diabetes appears and is diagnosed in adolescence. So it is a disease and a disorder that predominantly affects young people, though I've also met with some adults who have type 1 diabetes and who got type 1 diabetes in adulthood. Recently, one of my constituents, who is in his 70s, came to talk to me about his type 1 diabetes. He actually got type 1 diabetes after a motorcycle accident. As I said earlier, we don't know what causes type 1 diabetes or what brings it on. It's not hereditary. We desperately need more research into what causes type 1 diabetes—not just in the management of type 1 diabetes but also in the attempt to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

There are currently around 120,000 Australians living with type 1 diabetes and seven Australians a week get diagnosed with T1D. As I said, recently we heard the announcement to increase funding for the continuous glucose monitors, covering people under the age of 21, pregnant women and some other people—for example, people with a valid concessional status and people who have a high risk or a clinical need that requires evidence.

I would like to finish by commending the JDRF for the amazing work they do, and the CEO, Mike Wilson, for his dedication to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes; and all people who generously donate to the JDRF. Hopefully, one day we can end T1D.