Emigrating

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SteveDH DAFNE Graduate
Birmingham Community NHS Diabetes Team
1 post

I am emigrating from UK to Australia in the summer. I'm trying to get information on how diabetic patients are supported in Australia, specifically how diabetes equipment and supplies are arranged in Australia, wondering if there are any users who have knowledge of this? Cool

HelenP DAFNE Graduate
Queensland Diabetes Centre, Brisbane, QLD
203 posts

Hi,
In Australia we have a two tier system. If you can afford it, or for philosophical reasons you choose private health insurance you pay for this. As a single adult with no dependents it costs me about $AUD 2500 per year. The good thing about this is that you choose your doctor, GP, Specialist etc. Example: my GP(my choice) charges me $AUD70 per visit. The government gives me a rebate of a bit over $30. In the beginning the doctors were encouraged to bulk bill which meant that if you went to the doctor he/she charged you exactly what the rebate was and it was just paperwork. However, doctors in wealthier areas decided that their renumeration was not sufficient so they started charging more, and more...you get the picture. Some still charge pensioners a reduced rate but mine does not. My specialist costs a lot more. Not sure but I think each visit actually costs me about $AUD120 (out of pocket). When you are referred to a specialist the first visit is in the vicinity of $AUD440 as it takes time to take a history etc. You get some of this back... as a Medicare rebate. Currently we are in election mode and the Conservative's policy is to continue a freeze of medicare rebates so this means that if the doctors raise their fees the difference will be paid by the patient. The doctors are protesting and declaring their practices will not be viable. The Labor Party is talking removing the freeze ASAP. Budget constraints. You also get a small tax break if you are privately insured..to encourage you to pay for your own health needs. If you opt out then you have to rely on the public system and the few times I have used the hospital system I have been happy with the quality. Most people I know dip in and out of the public system. e.g. if you break your arm at football you can go to the emergency department at the local public hospital and they will X-ray it set it etc or you can go to the private hospital where the waiting time is less but you will pay several hundred for the same service. If you have a serious hypo and are ambulanced to hospital it will be a public hospital unless you state otherwise. If you want to find a GP that bulk bills you will have to search for one yourself. There are a few scattered about (often newly established). You can also choose to go to a diabetic clinic at a public hospital but you wait for a longer time and do not get to see the same doctor whenever you do go. There are advantages in being able to ring up the specialist (called an endocrinologist) at a weeks notice if things go pear shape. If you are hospitalised by your endo. he/she usually nominates the private hospital.

My health fund has just agreed to purchase my second pump...the old one was losing definition on the screen. The cost is quoted as $AUD 9,500...I pay nothing towards the pump but I have to pay $350 to be taught how to use it by a private Credentialed Diabetic Educator. I have also agreed to purchase (myself) a Contour Next Link 2.4 which will talk to my new pump remotely. If I go CGM that will also cost me way more. I will see. The consumables for my current pump cost me about $120 for three months (strips, cartridges, comfort sets) but that obviously depends on how many you use. My insulin comes in 3ml (300U) vials and you can get 25 (5x5) of them on prescription for about $30. I am assuming that as you are a Brit. all thing will be the same but you ought to check. Have you tried Australia House?

If you do take out private insurance there are waiting times before you are eligible. So joining a health fund will not necessarily guarantee you a pump. I believe it depends on the health fund. Finding a suitable health fund is also similar to finding a phone company...!!!


Good luck.

Helen

Alan Constable DAFNE Graduate
Maidstone General Hospital
274 posts

Yes, good luck Steve - I hope it all goes well for you. Please keep us posted.

Warwick DAFNE Graduate
Diabetes Australia-Vic, Melbourne, Victoria
489 posts

Australia run a program called National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) - https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/NDSS/ - currently administered by Diabetes Australia, but at the end of this month, it will change and be administered by the Pharmacists Guild.

Under the scheme, items such as needles are free, and BG strips are subsidised. 50 BG test strips are $8.20, 100 are $16.50.

As Helen has said, if you need a pump, then either you need to purchase it yourself, or by obtaining private health insurance, they will pay for the cost of purchasing that after a stand-down period, usually one year. Some will also 'loan' you an older pump while you are waiting for the stand down period to end.

Diabetes Australia has state offices and can be worth joining if only for the first year while you get to know how things work in Australia. They administer OZ DAFNE. They also run regular lectures with health professionals which can be excellent. Here in Melbourne, they also coordinate support groups if that interests you.

I am the leader of one of the support groups here in Melbourne, a group of T1Ds who like to exercise. We are called HypoActive - http://hypoactive.org/ and meet on a monthly basis to exercise together and have brunch afterwards at a cafe. You would be very welcome to join us - all levels of fitness are welcome, walking, running, cycling etc.

Feel free to ask any other questions or PM me.

Cheers,
Warwick.