Diabetes experts visit Guyra
New England has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the country, and patients have little access to specialists. Diabetes experts from Newcastle visited the region last week as part of its Diabetes Alliance program.
Guyra residents were able to participate in the program, with the team visiting the Medical Centre last Wednesday. It was the first time the local practice had participated in the program.
Diabetes Alliance program officer Morag Joseph said that the diabetes program is a great example of tertiary carers and primary carers working together to provide patient centred care.
“What this really means is that patients living in Guyra who need to see a specialist don’t have to leave Guyra,” Ms Joseph said.
“They can see the specialist in their local doctor’s practice with their regular GP sitting right next to them.”
Endocrinologist Dr Julie Luu and diabetes educator Marian Hawker worked with practice head Dr Jey and nurse Julie Harris to help eight patients manage their diabetes with medication, diet, exercise and treatment options. The day also gave the Guyra staff more skills to treat their other diabetic patients.
The Diabetes Alliance program began as a pilot in Newcastle in 2015. Until then, diabetics were referred by their GPs to see specialists in the city.
“This could involve long travel, paying for accommodation, and the specialist sending a letter the GP may not receive, read, or understand,” Dr Luu said.
“We recognized that we were getting more referrals than we could see in our clinics,: she said. “With 90 per cent or more of the diabetes being managed by GPs, not by endocrinologists, it important to impart what we know and our awareness of diabetes to the GPs so that they can manage it.”
Dr Luu said, that part of the program is to improve screening and get GPs to recognise and remember to screen, but also for patients to come in and be screened.
“Most diabetics early in the disease will have no signs and that’s why it’s important to go to your GP and be screened because you can feel perfectly well and still have diabetes.”
Symptoms include tiredness, increased thirst, increased urination, recurring infections, and visual problems.