Friday, December 3, 2010

In the local newspaper this morning...

District's diabetes service slammed

Taranaki's district health board has been slammed for inadequate services for people with diabetes.

**Have you experienced problems with a lack of services for people with diabetes in Taranaki? Post your comments below.
Paul Drury, medical director of the New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes, was scathing about the level of service provided.

"We are extremely concerned and very disappointed that Taranaki as a district health board hasn't taken diabetes seriously over many years," Dr Drury said.

"Taranaki has possibly the most deficient service in the country."
The TDHB, in a written statement to the Taranaki Daily News through its media adviser Sue Carrington, defended its service for diabetics and expressed disappointment at the criticism

In the statement, primary healthcare portfolio manager Vicki Kershaw said the organisation was pleased with the latest health target results released by the Ministry of Health on diabetes and cardiovascular services, which showed it had reached 87 per cent of the eligible population

"Taranaki tops the country in this target," she said. "The DHB continues to work with and support the PHOs to ensure there are services in place in primary care to diagnose and manage diabetes in the community."
Surveys by the NZSSD and Diabetes New Zealand showed DHBs were failing the rapidly increasing number of people with diabetes.

Taranaki has never had a specialist diabetes service for the approximately 5000 people with disease, and the number is growing by five per cent a year.

"There are currently less than two specialist nurses and less than one day per week of physician time dedicated to the needs of this growing number of people," Dr Drury said. "It is growing very rapidly and there has been no growth in the service provision in Taranaki."

The deficiencies would lead to further complications and "this will have an increasing and inevitable impact on diabetes diagnosis and its long-term complications – kidney failure, amputation, blindness, premature heart disease and stroke".

TDHB clinical services manager Rosemary Clements said it provided 2.5 clinics a week, where 800 diabetic patients were seen by a specialist physician. It also employed four diabetes nurse specialists, who saw about 900 patients each year.

"We are very disappointed at the criticism and believe we are offering a good service to our diabetic patients. The services we provide do not appear to be reflected in the survey data," Mrs Clements said.

A "stay well" programme, aimed at giving people knowledge and tools to better understand and manage their condition, was provided by the TDHB, as was access to psychology and podiatry services when required.
"Taranaki DHB spends approximately $500,000 on specialist diabetes services alone. That is not including work in the community and other specialist services that are utilised," she said.


So, this is where I live. In the worst district in the country for diabetes care, money wise. No wonder I can't get funding for an insulin pump! And don't worry, I commented as such...

My Comment:

Type 1 Diabetic   #1   11:28 am Dec 03 2010

Yes, I do think that the level of service offered needs to be improved for diabetics, of all types (1, 2, LADA, gestational etc). But it's not the medical staff who are at fault - they do a great job and are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. It's just the MONEY which is not available.
It costs a lot to be a diabetic. Not many people know, but here in Taranaki diabetics are severely disadvantaged because our health board does not have funding for internationally accepted state of the art treatment - namely, insulin pumps and continuous glucose meters.
Yes, these devices are expensive, but remember that a diabetic (of any sort) did not choose to become diabetic, and if there is a medical treatment which has a high success rate in treating the daily complications of high and low bloodsugars, I believe we should have access to it. And how much would one of those cost? Try $7000 plus $2000 running costs per year. Too expensive for most.
Other health board around the country routinely fund these devices for those in need. But not here. It's almost worth moving for!
Please Taranaki District Health Board: look at how much it costs to be a diabetic - both in monetary and health/emotional terms - and do better for all of us!

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