Budget will be double blow to diabetics

DIABETICS across the country could be hit by a "double blow" from the Abbott government's proposed changes to healthcare, Diabetes Australia says.

The government's budget measures, if they pass the Senate, could see diabetics paying the proposed $7 GP co-payment for pathology and X-ray work as well as a $5 co-payment for medicine.

Diabetes Australia chief executive Professor Greg Johnson said the burden of the new payments would hit older Australians and families with children with diabetes the hardest.

He said more than 700,000 Australians older than 60, of the 1.7 million diabetics in the country, were registered with the national diabetes services scheme.

"They not only need to see their GP regularly, but they need eye checks, kidney checks, heart and vascular checks, and regular monitoring to help prevent serious complications of diabetes," he said.

"Older people with diabetes will commonly have another chronic condition as well as diabetes.

"They need to access a credentialled diabetes educator, a dietitian, a podiatrist; they need regular blood tests - and of course they will often be on multiple medications needing prescriptions and they need diabetes self-monitoring products and often needles and syringes for their insulin."

But it was not all bad news for diabetes sufferers, with Prof Johnson welcoming the government's pledge to create a new national diabetes strategy.