Sanofi is calling on the Federal Government to join with them to co-fund a GP diabetes education program aimed at reducing the condition’s growing financial burden on the Australian healthcare system.
The education program, developed jointly with endocrinologists, GPs, diabetes educators, pharmacists and Sanofi outlines how, by bringing blood glucose levels to target, GPs can play a key role in cutting future costs on healthcare by reducing the likelihood and severity of diabetes-related complications.
“Evidence suggests that glycaemic control of people living with type 2 diabetes in Australia is currently suboptimal,” says Medical Director of Sanofi Australia and New Zealand, Dr Jamshed Ahmed.
“While the goal of diabetes management is to bring blood glucose levels to target, studies have shown that 60% of Australians with type 2 diabetes fail to meet their HbA1c target.”
Dr Gary Deed, a GP in Queensland says pharmacists can play a pivotal role in diabetes care by providing support and education to patients with type 2 diabetes.
“Helping people with diabetes understand their diabetes treatment and directing people back to their doctor when glycaemic control is sub optimal is a vital part of diabetes management,” says Dr Deed.
“If left undiagnosed or poorly controlled, diabetes and persistent high blood glucose levels can lead to a range of long-term complications including coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, diabetic neuropathy, kidney failure, limb amputations and blindness.”
This lack of glycaemic control is often attributable to the fact many healthcare professionals are reluctant to intensify treatment quickly in their type 2 diabetes patients, particularly in prescribing insulin.
This means that patients don’t move to a more appropriate treatment option in a timely manner, despite guidelines supporting the need to. This is often referred to as ‘clinical inertia’.
To address this treatment gap, Sanofi engaged with GPs, pharmacists, endocrinologists and diabetes educators to develop a two-day, RACGP accredited, peer-to-peer training program for GPs, called the Insulin Leadership Summit.
“The ILS education program is delivered by GPs and editorially independent. It has been running for six years, providing GPs with the necessary information and capability to deliver appropriate insulin management for patients with type 2 diabetes,” says Dr Ahmed.
“More than 1,300 GPs have already participated in the program, primarily in metropolitan areas around Australia. The response we’ve had has been fantastic.
“In fact, 92% of attendees said the program helped them to overcome barriers they had to initiating insulin therapy and to better apply current type 2 diabetes management guidelines.”
Dr Deed says he supports the need for greater diabetes education.
“GP education, as part of a multidisciplinary team approach including pharmacists, is key to diabetes care and management in Australia.
“I urge the Government to support the success of the ILS program to ensure patients with type 2 diabetes in rural and regional areas are not left vulnerable and forced to put further strain on our health system.”