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Diabetes Suppliers to Support Pharmacy Through NDSS Changes

“The upcoming changes to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) are an opportunity for community pharmacies to become more involved with diabetes care and they should access the support provided by diabetes organisations and suppliers during this transition period,” says Hilary Crilly, Managing Director at BD Australia and New Zealand.

“While the NDSS changes being implemented by the Government from 1 July 2016 are designed to help make it easier for people living with diabetes to access the products they need, we need to help community pharmacy be ready to successfully manage these changes,” said Ms Crilly.

One of the key changes is that NDSS products will no longer be supplied to NDSS Registrants from Diabetes Australia or its agents (this includes via Diabetes Australia shops, the NDSS 1300 number, or Diabetes Australia Agent websites).

According to Anthony Tassone, President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch), the transition period should be relatively seamless, providing pharmacists are prepared and aware of the changes.

“From 1 July 2016, pharmacies will be eligible to receive a payment of $1 for each NDSS product supplied. Previously there has been no remuneration, and the new payment is a step in the right direction in acknowledging the time and effort spent by pharmacies in supporting people with diabetes. Pharmacies will also be able to charge a fee for clinical services they provide which could include supporting patients on topics like correct injection technique that will result in better management of their diabetes,” said Mr. Tassone.

Another two NDSS changes that are particularly relevant to pharmacists are that insulin pump consumable (IPC) patients will have to get their products from community pharmacies and that patients with type 2 diabetes who don’t use insulin will now be restricted to an initial six-month supply of subsidised test strips (subject to further authorisation from an approved healthcare professional).

“As many pharmacies won’t be aware of their patients requiring IPC’s, they will need to be prepared to handle requests and to efficiently manage ongoing ordering and supply arrangements.”

“It’s essential that pharmacists stay alert to communications from the; Department of Health, Diabetes Australia and the Pharmacy Guild to ensure their staff are prepared for patient enquiries and to inform of some of these changes. This includes training and education resources and updates on ordering processes. The Guild is absolutely committed to helping support our members support their patients in communicating and handling these changes,” continued Mr. Tassone.

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