For immediate release 18 July 2000
FREE GLUCOSE METERS FOR ALL COMMUNITY SERVICE
AND HIGH USER CARD HOLDERS
Diabetes New Zealand is urging all doctors, diabetes nurse educators and diabetes specialists to let their patients, who
are either Community Service Card or High User Card holders know about a new opportunity to better manage their own
health. People can call 0800 DIABETES (0800 342 238) for more information.
As from today all Community Service Card holders and High User Card holders with diabetes will be able to get a free
glucose meter from the National Supply Scheme of Diabetes New Zealand.
“There is a need for a strong consumer advocacy organization like Diabetes New Zealand to educate people with diabetes
about how to better manage their condition. This new service will be of great benefit for everyone with diabetes and it
can be directly attributed to the Prime Minister,” said Margaret Jamieson QSM, President of Diabetes New Zealand.
People with diabetes need to regularly monitor their blood glucose levels. Diabetes is a condition where the glucose
levels in the blood can move to life threatening levels.
“Everyone has been a winner from this innovative approach to delivering healthcare and Diabetes New Zealand takes this
opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for her part in allowing this to happen,” said Margaret Jamieson.
“The profits Diabetes New Zealand makes from this activity are directed back to education for those people with
diabetes. With rising demand for healthcare services by the community coupled with limited available funding, the
Government needs to work closely with health groups like Diabetes New Zealand, so they can play a more active role in
the delivery of selected parts of healthcare service to users, at a lower cost,” she said.
“Diabetes New Zealand is living proof that the services provided can be hugely beneficial to the community and we look
forward to striking new and further initiatives with the Government that we believe are beneficial to all parties to
improve healthcare to New Zealanders.”
“Over the next twenty years the incidence of diabetes is expected to increase by at least 97% among Maoris, by 117% in
Pacific Island people and 47% in New Zealanders of European background,” said Margaret Jamieson, President.
The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Helen Clark opens the National Office of Diabetes New Zealand, 115 Molesworth Street,
Wellington, at 4pm, today.
For further information please phone
Margaret Jamieson, QSM, President, Diabetes New Zealand, 025-623-7598
Diabetes New Zealand National Office Tel (04) 499 7143 Fax (04) 499 7146
It was in one of her previous roles, as Minister of Health in 1989, that Helen Clark agreed to a Department of Health
proposal to investigate alternatives to pharmacy distribution of blood glucose test strips.
Since 1998, under a Health Funding Authority contract, many community service cardholders, living in the South Island,
have been able to get free glucose meters. The success of this scheme has benefited people with diabetes and has led to
the scheme being extended to cover the whole country.
There are three main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes – an estimated 11,000 people in NZ have this. It is more common in European people than Maori or Pacific
Island people. Many people with Type 1 diabetes develop it as children or teenagers.
Type 2 diabetes – approximately 105,000 in NZ have Type 2 diabetes and Maori and Pacific Island people are more than
twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes as European people. Most people with Type 2 diabetes develop it after the age
of 40. People over 40 years who are overweight or less active (especially Maori, Pacific Islands or Asian people) are
more at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes at an earlier age.
Gestational diabetes occurs in some women while pregnant. Blood glucose levels usually return to normal once the baby is
born, but women who have gestational diabetes are likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life. Diabetes in pregnancy
remains a leading cause of congenital abnormalities, stillbirths and miscarriages.