The 2023-24 Budget delivers ‘good news for many people living with diabetes’ 12 May 2023 Diabetes Australia commends the Albanese Government for the numerous significant initiatives in this year’s Budget that will help people living with diabetes and improve the long-term sustainability of Australia’s health system. Diabetes Australia Group CEO Justine Cain said improving bulk billing, new longer consults with GPs, as well as initiatives to reduce the impact of diabetes-related wounds and amputations will all help people living with diabetes. “Bulk billing payments for GPs have been tripled for face-to-face and telehealth consultations with eligible concession card holders and children under 16 years of age,” Ms Cain said. “That means GPs who are looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our community will be able to afford to bulk bill these patients and give them the care they need.” Other Budget highlights introduced for people living with diabetes include: Chronic Disease Management reforms include a new Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) item for longer consultation (60 minutes or more) to support improved access and affordability for people living with chronic conditions and complex needs. This will be valuable for many people living with diabetes, especially those who are experiencing complications and coexisting conditions. A Chronic Wound Consumables Scheme will provide people living with diabetes aged 65 years and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over access to subsidised wound consumables. This will help to reduce the impact of wounds and prevent further complications including diabetes-related amputations. My Medicare is a new voluntary patient registration scheme that will give patients and their care team access to additional funding packages, tailored to their health needs. It will support access to longer consultations. This will provide increased support to many people living with diabetes through continuity and consistency of care. Multidisciplinary teams will support primary care practices in under-served areas which will increase patient access and improve management of chronic conditions and mental health. Ms Cain said one of the important highlights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people was the support for First Nations dialysis in regional and remote Australia, which will be funded with $28.2M over three years from 2023-24. “This will provide support for 30 dialysis units, addressing a great need for Indigenous Australians living with diabetic kidney disease,” Ms Cain said. “We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are twice as likely as non-Indigenous adults to have chronic kidney disease. We also know that diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage chronic kidney disease. This boost to dialysis services is directing money to an area of great need. “There will also be a national campaign to promote uptake of First Nations Australians’ health assessments. This will improve administration and coordination of health assessments and linkages with allied health services.” According to Ms Cain, one of the big advances that will help provide easier access to doctors and other health professionals for people living with diabetes is the $950M boost to digital health technologies over the next four years. “No matter where you live in Australia, no matter your health condition or its complexity, digital health will increase efficiency and collaboration between your doctors and other health professionals,” Ms Cain said. “The upgrades to My Health Record and improved compatibility with practice management systems will streamline care and records for many people which is hugely important for people living with diabetes who have to see a range of people as part of their diabetes care.” Ms Cain said Diabetes Australia had discussed a number of these issues with the Federal Health Minister Mark Butler and other members of the Albanese Government, along with other advocates. “This Budget delivers good news for many people living with diabetes,” she said.