Let GPs approve glucose monitors: RACGP

3 minute read

A review of diabetes management products could open the door for GPs to authorise subsidised continuous glucose monitoring devices.

The RACGP wants GPs who manage type 1 diabetes patients to be trusted with more responsibility, but without the requirement for additional training.

Since July last year, continuous glucose monitoring and flash glucose monitoring products have been subsidised for all 130,00 Australians with type 1 diabetes under the National Diabetes Services Scheme.

Accessing the subsidised products involves getting certain forms certified by an authorised health professional whose usual scope of practice includes the ongoing care and management of people with type 1 diabetes.

Despite such management typically falling within the purview of general practice, the authorised health professionals are limited to diabetes educators, endocrinologists, nurse practitioners, physicians with a diabetes specialty and paediatricians.

GPs are thus forced to refer on their patients for them to get the form authorised and access the subsidised products.

It’s an arrangement that’s considered unnecessarily bureaucratic by some, including the RACGP.

Last year, to no avail, it wrote to the deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Aged Care requesting the conditions be reconsidered.

Now, the department has cracked open the door again, with an announcement that it would “refresh” the NDSS product schedule with a tender process.

The tender, it said, will allow new and existing product suppliers to seek subsidisation, but will not change the range of products offered under the scheme, nor will it change the eligibility.

While this is not strictly related to authorised prescriber groups, the RACGP used the opportunity to make a written submission arguing its case.

“As expert generalists, GPs are professionals who work within their scope of practice and seek relevant education to gain the knowledge and skills they need to serve the needs of their patient populations,” the college said.

What it does not want, however, is any mandatory additional educational requirements.

While the RACGP acknowledged that the technology is complex, it said that an educational requirement would only increase barriers to patients.

“In circumstances when managing patients with [type 1 diabetes] is not part of an individual GP’s usual practice or they don’t feel they have the necessary skills to certify access, they would seek advice for certification from another member of the [patient’s diabetes] healthcare team,” the college said.

Neither Diabetes Australia nor the Australian Diabetes Society responded to a request for comment before deadline.

Speaking to The Medical Republic last year, both organisations were of the opinion that the technology was too complex and challenging for clinicians to manage who were not specifically trained in diabetes.  

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