Diabetes Australia, the peak national body for diabetes, welcomes the announcement from the Australian Government of investment of $436 million from 2012, to provide a new funding approach and more personalised and coordinated, multidisciplinary care for Australians with diabetes. The announcement comes at a time when Australia has almost 1 million people diagnosed with diabetes and a similar number may be undiagnosed.
Acting CEO of Diabetes Australia, Professor Greg Johnson said that “with 275 Australians a day developing diabetes, we are in the midst of a diabetes epidemic and the health and hospital system simply cannot cope with the numbers”.
“We know people with diabetes are ‘frequent flyers’ in the hospital system and that 32% of preventable hospital admissions in Australia relate to people with diabetes and its complications which include heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney problems and limb amputations”.
“This new funding is focussed on type 2 diabetes which is over 85% of cases and is largely diagnosed and managed in general practice. There is good evidence that if we provide more funds and more focus on coordinated, multidisciplinary care in general practices then we can produce better outcomes for people with diabetes and we can prevent many of the avoidable hospital admissions”.
Professor Johnson noted that “people with diabetes need to see doctors, diabetes educators, dietitians, podiatrists, optometrists, physiotherapists and exercise physiologists, psychologists and possibly others. It is very difficult for many people to navigate the current system and to access these supports.”
Diabetes Australia welcomes new approaches to primary health care for people with diabetes and new funding models to make them work.