Diabetic Travelling Australia

Writing with burning sticks in the air. Salt lake central Australia.

Image courtesy of John White Photos

As mentioned in my previous post. One of the things I will miss the most about the UK is the NHS and the fantastic, free service that it provides. Having trawled the internet to figure out what to do when we arrive in Australia, I found it very hard to find answers to key questions such as “Where do I get my insulin?”, “How much will it cost” & “How do I go about applying for a Medicard?”. This blog & post will go some way to helping fellow diabetics that are thinking of making the move down under.

Firstly, before you leave the UK, make sure that you visit your GP and inform him of your plans. Not only will he be able to issue you with a couple of signed letters to ensure that you make it through customs safely, but also, three months diabetic supplies. I also recommend booking a final visit to the chiropidist & to have your yearly HBA1C tests before leaving, this will save money & reassure you that all is ok.

Having emailed the guys at Medicare, I was informed that upon arrival, I will need to book an appointment with a GP who will issue a Medicard within a week. I found this hard to comprehend, especially having been a UK resident for over 26 years, I have low expectations of this kind of thing being sorted out quickly. I have every faith in the Australian system.

Another plus point for diabetes sufferers is the reciprocal healthcare agreement held between our two countries. With a Medicard, patients can receive medical care and supplies at a “reduced rate”. For more information about Medicare, visit their website.

Ok, so I still don’t know exactly how much my prescriptions are going to cost, let alone where I can pick them up. But rest assured, i’ll be keeping you informed throughout the blog, so don’t forget to subscribe to my updates.

I’d love to hear from any fellow diabetics who have traveled Australia. How did you find adapting to the changes in your healthcare regime? Do you know roughly how much supplies will cost per month?

Update: 21/04/2011 – Travelling Australia? Applying For Your Medicare Card Is Easy As 1,2,3

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7 thoughts on “Diabetic Travelling Australia

  1. Pingback: Travelling Australia? Applying For Your Medicare Card Is Easy as 1,2,3 « Jesus was a Road Runner…

  2. Just found this from a quick google search. I’m 25, T1, and planning on heading to Oz for a year in December. Initially thought I would have been unable to stay for so long.

    How was it for you? Was it easy to find your insulin requirements over there? I was only diagnosed in Dec 2011, and have no idea of what it’s like in other countries, but I’d guess my requirements would be pretty straightforward to get a hold of? I’m currently on NovoRapid and Lantus.

    Using the medicare card, what were the costs like? I really don’t want to have to cut my travels short due to spiralling medical costs.

    Thanks!

    • Hey Kev,

      Thanks for your message. You’ll definitely not have to worry about cutting your trip short. I like to think of Oz as a hotter version of the UK, without as many 24 hour shops.

      Getting insulin was so easy. Once you’ve sorted your Medicare card (see post), all you need to do is visit a GP (the guys at Medicare can recommend one so don’t worry about that either) and you’ll have a prescription same day. Novorapid seems to be the World standard at the moment and I got hold of mine super easily. I’m on Levimir instead of Lantus, but I have every confidence that you’ll be able to get it when you’re over there. If you’re worried, I’d drop the Diabetes Australia team and email to confirm (http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/).

      As i said in the post, 5 packs (inc. 5 pens each) of Levimir and Novorapid cost $35 with a medicare card or in excess of $100 without one, so it pays to get these with a Medicare card.

      Also, I have the Freesyle Lite blood glucose meter and 100 strips with a Medicare card cost $35, so not cheap, but not too bad – especially if you’re planning on working out there where the wages seem phenomenal compared to the UK.

      If you’ve got any more questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a message.

      ps. Speak to your UK GP before you go, he’ll be able to prescribe you with 3 months worth of supplies to save money and tide you over.

  3. I go to Australia next week. I’m of the understanding that you can only take 3 months’ worth of supplies into Australia but I have been prescribed more. Are they strict at customs on this? Because insulin doses vary, it’s hard to determine just how much 3 months worth is.

    Also, were you allowed to take dextrose tablets/Glucogel through as I understand you’re not allowed to take food into the country?

    Did you declare anything about the medication you were carrying on your customs form to enter into Australia?

    • Hey Hannah,

      I took six months supplies, but you’re exactly right – everyone is different, so for one person six months medication will be two months for another. I wouldn’t worry about that.

      I’d recommend getting a doctors note to say that you’re diabetic and on certain medicines. That’ll give you piece of mind when travelling too.

      Finally, I carry Dextro sweets everywhere – you won’t be able to get liquids on a plane, but sweets are absolutely fine – especially with that supporting doctors note 😜

      Have a great trip, Terence

      • Hi. Thanks for your response. So they never questioned how much you were bringing in? Was your doctor’s letter detailed or just state you were a Type 1 diabetic and needed to carry insulin, needles etc?

        Did you declare on your customs form that you were carrying needles and insulin?

        Did you carry everything in your hand luggage or did you carry spare test strips and needles in your checked luggage?

        Thank you for your help.

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