National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS)

Information relating to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS)

Page last updated: 30 November 2018

CGM and FreeStyle Libre evaluation | 1 December 2018 Changes to the NDSS Product Schedule | User research for NDSS Online Services Portal | Changes to the NDSS from 1 July 2016 | Overview | Access Points | Registrants | Products

Continuous Glucose Monitoring and FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring


On 25 November 2018, the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced that the Liberal National Government would commit more than $100 million in additional funding to expand the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Initiative.

Further information can be found on the Continuous Glucose Monitoring page.

Changes to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) Product Schedule from 1 December 2018


From 1 December 2018, there will be changes to the brands of some products available on the NDSS Product Schedule, however, people registered with the NDSS will still be able to access the products they need.

More than 95 per cent of people with diabetes registered with the NDSS will not be affected by these product changes.

Most people who access subsidised products through the NDSS will receive a reduction in the co-payment they pay. There are no increases to the cost of products and no new restrictions to accessing products.

These changes are part of the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting people with diabetes to self-manage their condition, and to ensure the NDSS can meet the needs of people with diabetes in the long term.

The Department of Health undertook a review of products subsidised under the NDSS. Information was gathered from product vendors and relevant clinical experts, and the following product categories were reviewed:
  • blood glucose test strips;
  • urine ketone test strips; and
  • insulin syringes.
As a result, from 1 December 2018, the NDSS Product Schedule will include some changes to the brands of blood glucose test strips and insulin syringes. There will be no changes to urine ketone test strips, insulin pump consumables or continuous glucose monitoring products available through the NDSS.

Where a person is required to change their current brand of blood glucose test strip, a clinically equivalent alternative will be available to them on the revised NDSS Product Schedule. In addition, people needing to change their current brand of blood glucose test strips under the new supply arrangements will be able to access a free blood glucose testing meter to use with their choice of new product.

Based on clinical advice, 13mm and 12.7mm syringes will no longer be available under the NDSS. Both 8mm and 6mm syringes will continue to be subsidised under the scheme.

Further advice about the changes, including fact sheets, information about co-payment changes and answers to common questions, can be found on the NDSS website, or by calling the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588.

User research for NDSS Online Services Portal - March 2018

The NDSS supports people to manage their diabetes through access to information, services and government subsidised products. The Department funds Diabetes Australia to deliver information and support services to people living with diabetes registered with the NDSS.

Each year, Diabetes Australia undertakes registrant research to measure satisfaction levels of NDSS services. This research will commence in March 2018. It will include some questions about Registrants views on the creation of a centralised NDSS online services portal. The NDSS online services portal would:
  • simplify NDSS registration for those newly diagnosed with diabetes;
  • allow users to update contact details;
  • provide online access to webinars and training courses; and
  • offer information and notifications on changes to the NDSS.
This research will help build the Department's understanding of Registrants needs.

If you have any questions about the NDSS online services portal or want to be involved in further user research, please email the NDSS team.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the NDSS Request for Proposal Process

Changes to the NDSS from 1 July 2016

On 1 July 2016, changes were made to the NDSS to ensure people living with diabetes can continue to access the products they need, as well as ensuring the ongoing sustainability of the scheme.

There are no changes to the cost or types of products available under the NDSS, but the way you access these products may have changed. You can still access NDSS products through your local participating NDSS community pharmacy. At present there are over 5,000 community pharmacies which are NDSS Access Points across Australia. You can find your nearest NDSS pharmacy by calling the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588, or by using the online locator tool at http://osd.ndss.com.au/search/.

Diabetes Australia, and its state and territory agents, continue to provide education, support and advice to NDSS registrants over the phone and through ongoing education services. This includes training for NDSS community pharmacies on ordering and supplying NDSS products, including insulin pump consumables.

What are the changes from 1 July 2016?

  • People with diabetes can still access NDSS products such as needles, syringes, blood glucose test strips and urine test strips from NDSS community pharmacies. In addition, since 1 July 2016 insulin pump consumables are available from NDSS community pharmacies. Where a pharmacy does not stock the insulin pump consumables required, they can be ordered by the pharmacy and delivered to the pharmacy generally within 24 hours.
  • The range of products available has not changed.
  • NDSS products are no longer available from Diabetes Australia or local state and territory diabetes organisations (this includes via state and territory diabetes organisation shops and websites, and the NDSS 1300 number).
  • NDSS products are supplied to NDSS community pharmacies using the same distribution network that pharmacies use to receive medicines. Aligning these delivery channels streamlines the way products are delivered to pharmacies.

Changes to Access to Blood Glucose Test Strips

Frequently Asked Questions (regarding changes to the NDSS)

Overview of the NDSS

The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is an initiative of the Australian Government which has been administered with assistance from Diabetes Australia since 1987.

Grant Guidelines

Through the NDSS, the Australian Government and Diabetes Australia work together to enhance the capacity of over one million Australians with type 1, type 2, gestational and other diabetes to understand and manage their life with diabetes. The NDSS aims to ensure people have timely, reliable and affordable access to the supplies and services they require to effectively self-manage their diabetes.

Table 1 - The number of people registered on the NDSS for each financial year, and Australian Government expenditure.
Financial YearPersonsAustralian Government expenditure
2002-2003
496,642
$81,389,001
2003-2004
553,692
$86,267,883
2004-2005
611,603
$94,149,126
2005-2006
669,741
$104,528,713
2006-2007
732,017
$113,755,487
2007-2008
798,538
$126,172,296
2008-2009
877,572
$135,815,193
2009-2010
957,338
$156,809,364
2010-2011
1,032,717
$163,398,842
2011-2012
1,037,621
$181,678,814
2012-2013
1,086,860
$197,154,279
2013-2014
1,133,412
$200,242,241
2014-2015
1,270,203
$201,300,000
2015-2016
1,320,328
$214,085,000
Further, The NDSS established a National Gestational Diabetes Register in 2011 to help women who have had gestational diabetes to manage their health into the future.

Table 2 - The number of people registered on the National Gestational Diabetes Register for each financial year

Financial YearPersonsAustralian Government expenditure
2011-2012
17,793
$210,669
2012-2013
38,567
$465,118
2013-2014
59,706
$732,592

Access Points

Access Points supply NDSS products to Registrants of the Scheme. There are currently over 5,000 Access Points across Australia, the majority of which are community pharmacies. A full list of NDSS Agents can be found on the NDSS website.

Registrants

To register with the NDSS, applicants must be diagnosed with diabetes and hold or be eligible to hold a Medicare card and live in Australia. Sometimes visitors to Australia may be eligible through a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with their home country.

The PBS also funds a number of medicines for persons with diabetes. Australian Government expenditure on these supplies through the PBS in 2015-16 was over $538 million.

Products

The NDSS continues to subsidise the cost of syringes and needles, blood glucose test strips, urine ketone test strips and insulin pump consumables. A detailed list of products available through the NDSS can be found on the NDSS website.

Annually, over 5 million products are provided to NDSS Registrants.

On average over 60% of Registrants access products to assist in the self-management of their diabetes each year.