Diabetes program suspended from Peel Health Campus

DIABETES patients have been told they will have to travel to Rockingham or Murdoch to receive treatment, after the Peel Health Campus had its only specialist suspended.

The Integrated Diabetes and Endocrinology Service (IDES) commenced in December 2011 at the Peel hospital, a three-year pilot program established by the Department of Health and Rural Health West.

Patients had access to a visiting endocrinologist – a doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes – through referrals from their GP. 

But last month GPs were told the local hospital would not be accepting new referrals.   

“Due to difficulties administering the contract, which included the departure of the sole endocrinologist who accepted an offer of employment elsewhere, Rural Health West recommended temporarily suspend[ing] the program,” a Department of Health spokesperson said.

“GPs in the catchment area were advised that no new referrals would be accepted four weeks before [and] alternative referral options were provided such as that available at St John of God Murdoch.”

The spokesperson said Rural Health West had reimbursed the Department $304,000 for the loss of the doctor.

Seven per cent of Peel’s population were registered as having type 2 diabetes last year, a figure “significantly higher” than the State’s five per cent average, according to the WA Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System report.

Mandurah pensioner Marion Wimsett, who has type 2 diabetes, had been seeing the specialist at the Peel Health Campus for more than a year.

On November 11 she called the hospital to book her usual appointment and was told the doctor “had left and was not being replaced.”

“They said I would have to visit him in Murdoch or go to Rockingham [hospital],” she said.

“That’s when I started jumping up and down.

“I am required to see a specialist at least twice a year and I live in an area where there is no public transport close by, I would not be able to make the trip – I can’t be the only one.”

Local exercise physiologist Clinton Joynes, who runs a diabetes management program in Greenfields, said Peel needed a medical diabetes specialist.

“There needs to be an endocrinologist in Mandurah considering the high volume of people with diabetes living here,” he said. 

“For elderly people particularly, Rockingham can be difficult to get to.”

During the State Legislative Council last week, South West MLC Dr Sally Talbot asked why the government was “cutting the provision of specialist diabetes services in Mandurah”.

“How far will patients have to travel to access specialist diabetes services after these cuts are made and what provision is the government making for patients to access these services?” Dr Talbot asked.

Parliamentary Secretary to Dr Hames, Alyssa Hayden MLC, said the program was a temporary change in service delivery and not a cut, but conceded that there were no medical diabetes specialists based locally.

“The visiting specialist model proved to be unsustainable,” Ms Hayden said.

“The endocrinologist [formally at PHC] was informed verbally by a phone call. 

“There are currently no endocrinologists practising in Mandurah.”

Ms Hayden said patients could access specialist medical services via Perth South Coastal Medicare Local in Rockingham, with government subsidies for transport.

“It is expected this will be only for the period the revised model is being developed,” she said.

According to Diabetes Australia executive Professor Greg Johnson, diabetes costs the healthcare system $14.6 billion a year with 280 Australians developing the disease every day.


Article by Charli Newton of the Mandurah Mail http://www.mandurahmail.com.au/story/1938140/diabetes-program-suspended-from-peel-health-campus/?cs=12

About Clinton Joynes

I am a motivated person who is interested in all things relating to exercise. I have worked with elite athletes to people with chronic illnesses. I love motivating others to achieve their goals. I believe in a personal and fun approach to life and work.

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