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How the NDSS works

Information courtesy of the NDSS website

The NDSS gives you access to a large range of subsidised products that help you to affordably self-manage your diabetes. These products include:

  • subsidised blood glucose testing strips (restrictions apply to people with type 2 diabetes who do not use insulin)
  • subsidised urine testing strips
  • free insulin syringes and pen needles (if you require insulin or an approved non-insulin injectable medication)
  • subsidised insulin pump consumables (for approved persons with type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes).

You do not need a prescription from your doctor to purchase products through the NDSS.

Medications (including insulin) are not available through the NDSS.

Buying blood glucose testing strips and urine testing strips through the NDSS is cheaper than getting them on prescription through your doctor. State and territory governments have agreed to cover the co-payments for insulin needles or syringes purchased through the NDSS. This effectively means the needles and syringes are “free” to eligible people registered on the NDSS.

You can get a further discount on some NDSS products if you hold one of the following concession cards:

  • Health Care card
  • Pensioner concession card
  • Safety Net card
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs card.

There are limits to the number of products you may purchase through the NDSS in a 180 day period . These limits are:

  • 900 strips and/or
  • 1200 sharps or
  • 90 cannulae and/or
  • 90 reservoirs/cartridges

The government understand that some people may require more products to manage their diabetes. If you require further assistance with accessing products to manage your diabetes, please contact the NDSS on 1800 637 700 or at

Purchasing Products

You must be registered with the NDSS to purchase products through the NDSS. You can obtain all NDSS products through Access Points.

Access to Insulin Pump Consumables (IPCs) is restricted to people with type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes. To access IPCs you will need to complete an IPC Assessment form available on the official NDSS website.

In certain circumstances, people who have been diagnosed with ‘other diabetes’ and ‘hard to manage’ type 2 diabetes can request special consideration from the Commonwealth to access IPCs through the NDSS. If you wish to apply for special consideration for access to subsidised IPCs through the NDSS, you will need to provide the following information to **NDSS Administration, GPO Box 3156, Canberra, 2601 or email

  • your name
  • your contact details, including your address and daytime telephone contact number
  • a letter from your doctor outlining the nature of your medical condition and why you need special consideration to access subsidised products through the NDSS.

Your request will be considered and further information may be requested to support your application. You will be advised of the outcome of your application within 30 days.

If you have type 2 diabetes and do not use insulin, and require additional access to blood glucose testing strips, you can find the Blood Glucose Test Strip Six Month Approval form in the Manage your registration section of the NDSS website. This form must be signed by a health professional.

For further information you can contact the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588.

If your Access Point needs to order your product from a wholesaler, delivery timeframes do apply. Products are generally available within 24-48 hours within metropolitan areas but may take longer in regional and remote areas.

Products have a use-by date so take care not to over-order these items to avoid unnecessary wastage.

NDSS products are for personal use only and may not be resold or distributed.

Changing Delivery Address

Sometimes you may need to have your NDSS products sent to an address that is different from your usual address. If this is the case, please call the Helpline on 1300 136 588 to give them your postal address.

Access to the NDSS is only available while you’re living in Australia.

If you’re travelling or living overseas, the NDSS is not permitted to send products to you. Before travelling, please review your product requirements. You can buy up to 6 months’ worth of products to take with you, but is also advisable to have a letter from your doctor to ensure you get through customs. For more information, see the Travel and Diabetes section of the website or call the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588.

Who is Eligible to Register

You are able to register if you:

  • live in Australia or are visiting from a country with which Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement on an applicable visa (as outlined below)
  • have been confirmed as having any type of diabetes by a doctor, endocrinologist, credentialled diabetes educator or registered nurse practitioner, or have some other serious medical condition requiring regular monitoring of blood glucose levels, and
  • hold (or are eligible to hold) a Medicare card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card.

People with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes or defined categories of ‘other diabetes’ may apply to be registered through the NDSS. ‘Other diabetes’ includes diabetes relating to:

  • genetic defects of beta cell function (eg MODY 1,2,3,4,5,6);
  • genetic defects in insulin action;
  • diseases of the exocrine pancreas (eg neoplasia, cancer of the pancreas, cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis);
  • endocrinopathies (eg Cushing’s);
  • drug or chemical induced (eg Vacor, Nicotinic Acid, Glucocorticoids, Thiazides);
  • infections (eg congenital rubella, Coxsackie, CMV);
  • uncommon forms of immune-mediated diabetes; or
  • other genetic syndromes sometimes associated with diabetes

You are not eligible to register if you have pre-diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.

If you are visiting Australia from a country with a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with the Australia Government, you may be able to register with the NDSS. These countries include Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

However, visitors on a student visa from Finland, Malta, Norway and the Republic of Ireland are not eligible.

How to Register

To register, you need to:

  • complete a registration form
  • if you are under 15 years old or are an adult receiving continuing care, have your primary guardian or carer complete the ‘Guardian or carer’ section of the registration form
  • have the registration form certified by a registered Australian medical practitioner such as your doctor, endocrinologist obstetrician, by a credentialled diabetes educator or registered Nurse Practitioner
  • keep a copy of the registration form for your records
  • send the completed form to the NDSS Agent in your state or territory (details can be found on form) or email to

You can  ask your pharmacy for a copy of the form.

Once your registration is completed

Providing you are eligible to register on the NDSS and your registration form is correctly certified by your doctor, diabetes educator or nurse practitioner, you are eligible to access NDSS products and services. Please note it can take up to 10 working days to receive your NDSS registration card in the post once processed by Queensland’s diabetes organisation.

If you need to purchase NDSS products while you are waiting to receive your registration card, you can present your certified registration form and your Medicare Card to any NDSS Access Point (usually your local pharmacy) to access products available through the NDSS at subsidised prices.

After You Register

After registering with the NDSS, you will receive an information book and registration card.

The information book contains general information about the NDSS, including services and products available to you, as well as information about diabetes. The registration card is used when purchasing products through the NDSS, and should be carried with you at all times.

If you have lost or damaged your registration card, please phone the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700 to order a replacement.