Missed health checks and reduced access to routine health care for people living with type 2 diabetes could be costing the Australian health system around $2.3 billion per annum, according to Diabetes Australia.
New modelling from Diabetes Australia, based on US research, found that the cost impact of people in Australia living with type 2 diabetes not receiving recommended care was around $3564 per person per annum.
An estimated 50% of Australians living with type 2 diabetes are not accessing a range of recommended diabetes health checks that help to prevent and manage diabetes-related complications including checks for diabetes management, cholesterol, eyes, kidneys, feet and others.
Missed health checks contribute to the increased prevalence of diabetes-related hospitalisations and complications. Annually this includes:
- 710,000 admissions to hospitals for dialysis;
- 256,000 admissions to hospital for other kidney-related conditions;
- 19,000 diabetes-related emergency admissions;
- 100,000 hospitalisations for eye complications;
- 5163 amputations.
This results in extra costs to the health system, with an increased prevalence of diabetes-related complications, many of which are preventable.
The new cost analysis was released at the start of National Diabetes Week, which runs from July 9–15.
Diabetes Australia Group CEO Justine Cain says the modelling highlighted the importance of supporting Australians living with all types of diabetes to receive the best possible healthcare.
“Diabetes is complex and can lead to a range of debilitating and costly complications, many that can be prevented or delayed by ensuring people receive timely and appropriate medical care,” Ms Cain said.
“One of the challenges with Australia’s healthcare system is that it has been orientated towards treating people when they are sick and unwell, rather than preventing issues before they develop.
“For people with diabetes, this means we need to better ensure people can easily access the routine health checks which can detect problems like heart and kidney disease and vision loss early when they are most treatable.
“That’s why we are strong supporters of the Federal Government’s Strengthening Medicare process which will create a health system that better meets the needs of people living with chronic conditions such as diabetes.”
Ms Cain said this National Diabetes Week, Diabetes Australia was launching the nation’s biggest-ever conversation about diabetes to hear from people living with the condition about improving the quality of healthcare they receive and inform its submission to the Australian Government’s Parliamentary Inquiry into Diabetes.
“We’re hoping to amplify the voice of people with diabetes who understand the reality of living with diabetes better than anyone to ensure this inquiry focusses on the priorities that will change the future,” she said.
“Diabetes Australia is encouraging people to complete our National Community Consultation Survey and attend one of our Great Debates either in person or online.”
Dr Gaurav Puri, Clinical Director of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Logan Hospital and the current Chair of Queensland Statewide Diabetes Clinical Network, says it was important to pinpoint the blockages and gaps in the current system that are making it harder for people living with type 2 diabetes to access optimum care.
“The economic impact of sub-optimal care is a significant and extensive issue that needs to be addressed,” Dr Puri said.
“We need to have a health system that is geared towards supporting people living with diabetes to live well and prevent diabetes-related complications and protect our health system.”
 Research has been adjusted to account for the increased costs of healthcare in the United States.
Text by: Diabetes Australia.