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

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