Diabetes Helpline vs Your Health Professional

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

What is the Helpline?

The National Diabetes Helpline is a free service provided by the National Diabetes Services Scheme. Diabetes NSW & ACT health professionals manage calls from those in NSW and the ACT.

If you are ringing to ask a standard question such as:

  • What is diabetes?
  • How do I find a health professional?
  • What blood glucose ranges should I be targeting?
  • What are low glycaemic foods?
  • How do I find out what group educations programs are available?

the Helpline can provide you with information. The team are all accredited health professionals; however, as they do not have access to your personal records or a referral from your general practitioner they are unable to offer personal consultations.

If your question involves personal information in regards to, for example, insulin doses, or the rash on your foot then you will need to contact your health professional.

How else can the NDSS Helpline work for you?

  • Advocacy: If you have experienced discrimination due to diabetes at work, school or other settings
  • Airports: Tips on airports and transporting insulin, wearing a CGM and pump and going through security
  • Non-premanent residents: The Helpline offers advice on accessing diabetes supplies without a NDSS number or Medicare card
  • Travelling: General information on travelling, including topics such as travelling to to areas with high altitude
  • Insulin: Tips and advice on storing insulin and basic insulin injecting techniques
  • Food: Where to find more information on eating for diabetes or gluten-free diets
  • Pumps: Providing advice on current insulin pumps available in Australia and the process to accessing pumps
  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) advice: Information in regards to the current CGM and flash glucose monitoring available in Australian and if you meet the NDSS guidelines
  • Travelling to Australia: Advice for people with diabetes moving to Australia
  • Driving: Information in regards to driver’s licenses, including commercial licenses and what the Austroad guidelines require to maintain your licence once diagnosed with diabetes. Advice for teenagers with type 1 diabetes applying for a drivers licence.

What is a CDE?

A certified diabetes educator (CDE) can be a nurse, dietitian, pharmacist, exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, podiatrist or social worker who has completed further university training and completed the credentialing program.

They will work with you one-on-one or in a group setting to help you:

  • Improve your HbA1C
  • Prevent diabetes complications or slow their progression
  • Improve your eating and exercise habits
  • Gain more confidence in self-managing your diabetes
  • How to manage stress related to living with diabetes
  • Understand your specific medications and any side effects.


When to see a CDE?

Once diagnosed with diabetes there is only a limited amount of support the Helpline can provide before you need to find your personalised diabetes team. A CDE is a good starting point. They are then able to recommend which other health professionals you should also see to individualise your diabetes management.

  • At diagnosis. This is an essential time to obtain the basic skills and knowledge to manage your diabetes and stay physically and emotionally healthy
  • Annually. Diabetes changes over time and so do your needs. Once a year, it’s important to brush up on skills and knowledge, learn about new management tools, and go over any struggles
  • After major changes in your life. Changes in your physical or mental health, financial state, or relationships may call for tweaks to your management plan and extra support from an educator
  • When your medical care changes. An educator can help support and guide you through transitions such as seeing a new doctor, dealing with different insurance coverage, adding or changing medications, or adjusting to a new living situation. Consider seeing a CDE when you start or change injectable medications.

If unsure always call Helpline on 1300 342 238 and we will provide advice and if necessary we will guide you to contact your local CDE.


By Polly Antees APD CDE

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