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The federal government has pledged $100 million to make glucose monitoring devices free for pregnant women and children with type 1 diabetes.

Spread over the next four years, the funding will give 37,000 eligible people with type 1 diabetes access to glucose monitoring devices, saving them up to $7,000 per year.

From March next year, eligibility for fully subsidised continuous glucose monitoring devices will expand under the National Diabetes Services Scheme to include pregnant women with type 1 diabetes and women breastfeeding or actively planning pregnancy.

It will also cover children and young people with similar conditions such as cystic fibrosis related diabetes who require insulin and people aged 21 and over with the condition who have high clinical needs.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks a person’s ability to produce insulin and requires monitoring of glucose levels day and night.

Glucose monitoring devices continually monitor a person’s glucose levels and provide alerts if they drop too low.

They use a sensor, usually attached to the stomach, that monitors glucose levels and includes an alarm able to alert people or their carer if levels drops too low.

As part of the scheme, the federal government is also planning to give people with type 1 diabetes access to the new FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system, a device that involves a sensor on the arm that monitors glucose levels and sends readings to a user’s mobile phone or diabetes management device.

When a patient passes their phone or device past the sensor, it reads glucose levels.

The federal government is currently working with Diabetes Australia and key stakeholders to finalise the clinical criteria of the scheme ahead of implementation.