1. Emergencies: When do I need to call an ambulance for a person with diabetes?
You can always call the ambulance service if you are not sure if it is a diabetes emergency. They can often come and assess the health of the person with diabetes and start treatment.
Dial 000 ask for ambulance and say ‘diabetes emergency’.
Stay with the person with diabetes.
Speak slowly and clearly.
You will be asked:
Stay on the line at all times.
- What is the exact location of the emergency? (Name of nearest street town and state and or landmark)
- What is the phone number you are calling from?
- What is the health problem, what exactly happened?
- How many people are hurt?
- How old is the person?
- Is the person conscious (awake)?
- Is the person breathing?
Follow the instructions by the ambulance call taker. This will help the person with diabetes and the ambulance staff.
While the ambulance is coming:
- Stay with the person
- Check if the person is breathing
- Action first aid steps
- Check blood glucose levels if possible and write down the reading
- Pass on information to the ambulance staff when they arrive
2. Apps: Do you have any advice on choosing an app to help manage my diabetes?
What are apps?
Apps or software applications are programs run by computers and smartphones to perform specific tasks. The most common platform or operating system is the iOS (Apple) which run devices like iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Android is the other common platform.
What should I look out for when choosing an app?
Choose apps that are culturally or geographically relevant, user friendly, can connect with other devices (e.g. wearables) and are Australian-based.
Are paid apps better?
Not always. Some apps have a free version for trial (with some features) to encourage people to buy the full version with all the features. Some free apps do the job equally well if not better.
Is there a ‘one and only’ app for managing my diabetes?
No. Managing diabetes is complex and can involve many areas. Identifying your individual needs may help find suitable apps to perform specific tasks easier, quicker or more accurately. Counting carbohydrates, calculating insulin needs and recording blood glucose levels accurately for pattern management are common examples. Individuals tend to use different apps for different tasks.
Apps for managing diabetes – What does the evidence say?
There is little evidence that apps help people manage their diabetes; however, if using apps helps you become more informed about your diabetes and improves your self-care, it is worth giving them a try. Talk with your healthcare team how best to use these tools for your individual health needs. Remember apps do not replace health information or medical appointments. Use them as an additional tool for information only.
Click here for further information.
3. Emotional health: Are there any resources available to help me manage the emotional demands of living with diabetes?
Yes. The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) and the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) have developed 8 factsheets containing information and tips about what people with diabetes can do when they experience a problem and where they can get further support. Topics covered include:
- Adjusting to life with diabetes
- Peer support
- Concerns about starting insulin
- Fear of hypoglycaemia
- Diabetes distress
- Diabetes and anxiety
- Diabetes and depression
- Disordered eating
Visit the NDSS website
for further information.
4. Centrelink: Am I entitled to money from Centrelink if I have diabetes?
Maybe. You need to contact Centrelink to check if you are able to get a payment or concession as a person with diabetes or a family carer.
Some services include:
- Financial planning including retirement from paid work
- Health Care Cards
- Carers Payment
- Carers Allowance
- Disability Support Pensions
- Aged Pensions and concessions.
Tips for dealing with Centrelink:
- Read the current Centrelink forms before making contact as information about all payments changes every six months.
- You will need to prove your identity to Centrelink. Search for, download and fill out the ‘Providing your identity form’.
- You will be asked to fill-out many forms before any payments start.
- Ask Centrelink how long it will take until payments start.
- Be prepared to wait on the phone or for an appointment with Centrelink staff at their offices.
- Ask for a receipt number for all contacts and keep notes of all contacts.
- Always ask Centrelink staff to photocopy documents so that you have a copy.
- You can ask for an interpreter by calling 131 202.
- You can make an appointment with a Centrelink social worker by calling 132 850.
- You can find out if there is an office/access point close to you by visiting the Centrelink website.
- If you want extra help with any Centrelink matter you can contact the Social Security Rights Victoria Inc.
- If you think a Centrelink decision is unfair you have the right to:
- Ask for the decision to be looked at by an independent senior officer (called an Authorised Review Officer).
- Appeal to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal if you disagree with the Authorised Review Officer’s decision.
- Appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal if you disagree with the Social Security Appeals Tribunal’s decision.
If you need help, contact our advocacy coordinator by calling 1300 136 588, via email
: or by visiting the website
5. CGM: What types of continuous glucose monitors (CGM) are currently available on the Australian market?
There are currently two continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) on the Australian market. At the moment, these monitors are not subsidised through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) or private health insurance.
Further information can be found here:
The latest sensor meter to enter the market is the Freestyle Libre by Abbott Diabetes Care. It is also not subsidised through the NDSS or private health insurance. For more information refer to their website
CGM technology is new and exciting – but expensive too. We recommend discussing these options with your diabetes educator or endocrinologist. You are also welcome to phone our Helpline on 1300 136 588 and speak to one of our diabetes educators.
6. Driving and notifying VicRoads: What are the requirements for notifying VicRoads of a diabetes diagnosis and how often do I need to send in medical reports?
|Type 2 diabetes managed by diet and exercise alone
|Driver not required to notify VicRoads
|Driver not required to notify VicRoads
|Type 2 diabetes managed by glucose-lowering agents (not insulin)
||Notification on diagnosis/ commencement of medications then every five years*
|Notification on diagnosis/ commencement of medications then every year
|Type 1 or type 2 diabetes managed by insulin
||Notification on diagnosis then every two years*
||Notification on diagnosis then every year
Applying for your Learner’s Permit
- How often you need a fitness to drive medical report depends on your type of diabetes and any changes in your health.
If you are applying for your learner's permit and you have diabetes, you must notify VicRoads and provide medical report before a permit can be issued. Failure to notify VicRoads is an offence and may result in your permit being suspended or cancelled.
For more information on diabetes and driving visit:
Should you need further help contact our advocacy staff by calling 1300 136 588 or via email
7. Emergency plans: Do you have a check list to help people living with diabetes self-manage our diabetes before, during and after bushfires and other natural disasters?
Yes, the My Diabetes Emergency Plan
helps you manage your diabetes in an emergency. The plan also lists important items to put in a diabetes emergency kit.
For your copy visit our website
or call the Helpline on 1300 136 588.
8. Hospital admission: What can I do if I am concerned about how my diabetes is being managed while in hospital?
- Talk with the endocrinology registrar. The doctor in charge of your medical care, nurse and/or social worker can make this happen.
- Contact the hospital’s patient advocate. Their job is to make sure you stay well while in hospital and also to look after the interests of the hospital.
- If you or a family member with diabetes want to talk about patient rights matters while in hospital, talk with Diabetes Victoria advocacy staff on 1300 136 588.
9. Peer support: Can I join a support group if I have diabetes?
Yes. Diabetes Victoria has type 1
and type 2
specific support groups located in metropolitan and rural Victoria who meet regularly.
10. Road trips: Do you have any tips about managing my diabetes when travelling around Australia by car?
- Ensure your blood glucose is over 5mmol/L before and check every 2 hours during driving.
- Ensure your meals and or snacks are at your usual time.
- Take an extra supply of food, drink, medication and monitoring equipment in case of breakdown, delays or emergencies.
- Take a break, stop for meals and go for a walk.
- Share the driving with a friend or relative and avoid becoming overtired or stressed.
- Never drink alcohol before driving. Alcohol will increase the risk of hypos (low blood glucose).
- Keep your insulin stored in a cool place in the car, not on the dashboard or in the glove box.
- Treat hypos (low blood glucose) as soon as you notice the symptoms:
- Stop the car.
- Have quick acting carbohydrate e.g. soft drink (non- diet) sugar or sweets.
- Follow with a long-acting carbohydrate, e.g. fruit-and-nut bar, biscuit or fruit.
- Wait until you feel better and check your blood glucose level.
- When your blood glucose level is back to normal, and you feel better, try to determine why the hypo occurred to prevent a recurrence.
- Do not resume driving until at least 30 minutes after your hypo symptoms have completely gone and your blood glucose is above 5mmol/L.
- Carry identification both on yourself and in your car indicating that you have diabetes.
When travelling within Australia take your NDSS card to enable you to obtain more supplies.