Tips on handling NDSS changes in the new year

A senior pharmacist provides an update on the changes and what to expect in early 2017

As the NDSS changes came into effect from 1 July this year, all registrants with non-insulin dependent Type 2 diabetes have had an initial period of 6 months’ access to subsidised blood glucose test strips.

The initial 6-month period commenced from the date the NDSS registrant first obtained blood glucose test strips from an NDSS pharmacy after 1 July.

 “It can be expected from early January that those people who have a clinical need to continue ongoing blood glucose monitoring will wish to have uninterrupted access to test strips,” says Chris Flood, a senior pharmacist and the National Manager of PBS Operations and Strategy at the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

“Given the holiday period, it is important that these people are assessed as early as possible by their GP, specialist, nurse practitioner or credentialed diabetes educator and that they do not wait until their eligibility has expired.

“Pharmacy staff can remind these people to see their doctor early and if assessed to continue monitoring, are also able to update their eligibility into NDSS Connect from a completed Approval Form,” he told AJP.

Once updated, the registrant has immediate access to blood glucose test strips for a further 6 months.

For registrants who do not have their eligibility updated, after the initial 6 month period has expired, pharmacies will not be able to process requests for test strips through NDSS Connect until the person is assessed and eligibility details confirmed and updated.      

He also points out that Diabetes Australia will be providing information for pharmacy staff about the changed arrangements via the NDSS Access Point training portal.

Flood recently presented at a diabetes forum held by Western Sydney Diabetes, in partnership with the PSA, Pharmacy Guild of NSW and Western Sydney PHN, and sponsored by BD.

Fellow speaker and NSW community pharmacist Peter Rushton said that while in most cases the GP was the primary healthcare provider for people with diabetes, pharmacists should become more familiar with the diabetes patient journey.

“The role of pharmacists and allied health professionals is to work as a team to support the GP, by driving compliance and reinforcement, monitoring, encouraging ownership of patients’ health and ultimately providing support,” said Rushton.

“Pharmacists should familiarise themselves with the health network referral process for a person with diabetes and make sure they understand the associated terminology. Only then can pharmacists reinforce the GPs’ messages, help improve medication compliance, and support and empower the person with diabetes.”

Professor Glen Maberly, a senior staff specialist from Western Sydney Diabetes, said discussing pharmacy’s contribution to diabetes care was timely.

“The management of diabetes is extremely complex and has become even more so in recent years – the NDSS changes, new classes of diabetes medications and also emerging clinical evidence around pen needle length are all contributing factors,” said Professor Maberly.

“In most patient cases, a multidisciplinary approach works best when pharmacy plays the vital role of providing advice on blood glucose monitoring equipment and injection technique, and dispensing diabetes medications, pen needles and consumables for insulin pen therapy.”

See more information on insulin delivery and injection technique (sponsored by BD) below:

New Insulin Delivery Recommendations

Worldwide Injection Technique Questionnaire Study: Population Parameters and Injection Practices

Worldwide Injection Technique Questionnaire Study: Injecting Complications and the Role of the Professional

Previous How racism impacts health care
Next World news wrapup: 8 December 2016

NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.


  1. Paul Sapardanis

    Why on earth do my colleagues still deal with NDSS? I believe that if we are to go down the service model that we as an industry need to assess whether providing such a service is viable. What happens when another health group asks us to provide services for the same rate of remuneration that NDSS offers us. I implore that we as a profession need to question whether we can seriously call ourselves professionals if we behave in this manner. I for one do not and will not offer NDSS for a humiliation of one dollar as I go to work to earn money not to help for free

  2. Russell Smith

    Commercial reality?
    We “do” NDSS so we get all of the other business from NDSS clients – and so the other mob down the road doesn’t get the business. Yeah right!
    I remember when there were few NDSS pharmacies and worked non NDSS pharmacies which had plenty of diabetic pts and most of their Rx business
    Now the only bar to NDSS is paying for QCPP
    Perhaps it might be even more economical to ditch both QCPP and NDSS – and if you are any good at the rest of what you do you will keep most of the related Rx business and cut your costs
    You might also be able to avoid the $1 blow-in insult at 5 minutes to closing time when neither NDSS nor any other card is available to support the demand for a $60 product or two
    Or do we prove ourselves mugs yet again?

  3. David Haworth

    This article does not point out that many if not most patients stabilized on tablets do not need to any fingerprick testing as the HbA1c test their doctor does is all the monitoring they need.Pharmacists should be telling patients that there is a probability their doctor will tell them this.

  4. Jayne Lehmann

    Fortunately Credentialled Diabetes Educators are able to assess and confirm clinical need for the continuation of blood glucose monitoring in those with type 2 diabetes. There will be a staggered introduction of the restrictions depending on when a person got their first order post 1st July 2016. It is also helpful if people are reminded about the change now so they can make the appropriate appointments to get their assessment and form signed. I have also been encouraging people to get an extra bottle of strips so they have some leeway if an appointment is harder to obtain. Pharmacists are excellent points of referral to CDEs within their own pharmacy of in the local area, and ensures education is provided about structured blood glucose monitoring for cost-effective and efficient use of strips for quality information on BGLs. You might want to have a look at on the DE@Connect part of the site. Here you will find a resource to support pharmacists and CDEs to network. The blog tab has two blogs on the restriction of strips including recommendations on assessing for clinical need.

    • Russell Smith

      Btw – what do you get paid for that?

Leave a reply