Blacktown GP Dr Abu Kabir with patient Sham Kumar and WSD Credentialed Diabetes Consultant Sharon McClelland.
With about 100,000 people in the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) with diabetes, potentially 1 in 5 adults who attend GP practices have diabetes.
Director of Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD), Professor Glen Maberly, said many of these patients have undetected diabetes because they have not had their HbA1C level tested.
“In addition, about 30 per cent of adult patients visiting the practice are at high risk of getting diabetes (pre-diabetes) and these patients need more support, education and tools to prevent progression,” he said.
“Half the patients with diabetes attending General Practices in our area have HbA1C levels greater than 7 per cent. This is when the serious complications of diabetes are progressing.”
Prof Maberly said GPs joining a Diabetes Case Conference is the best way for his team to work with GPs as well as give them the skills and confidence to manage their most complex patients.
Formerly called a Joint GP Specialist Case Conference (JGPSCC), a Diabetes Case Conference usually includes a GP, the patient, a hospital specialist, and a Credentialed Diabetes Educator, and is held using NSW Health’s myVirtualCare platform.
WSD has just launched a new Diabetes Case Conference brochure to encourage GPs to learn more about the benefits of getting involved in a case conference with WSD.
“This is an expedited service and most patients will be seen within a month, with urgent cases within a week,” WSD Endocrinologist and staff specialist Dr Rajini Jayaballa said.
“When we see patients together with GPs in a Diabetes Case Conference you improve your knowledge of best practice diabetes management based on latest guidelines.
“We learned from our patient satisfaction survey results that 85 per cent of patients reported high satisfaction with virtual care in a Diabetes Case Conference.
To access the Diabetes Case Conference brochure, click here.
Prof Maberly said keeping up to date with rapid changes in diabetes management can be challenging for GPs.
“There are great advantages for patients to use more recent medications to help with weight-loss, prevent hypoglycaemia, protect hearts and kidneys, and give better glucose control,” he said.
Dr Sunimalee Fernando from Quakers Hill Family Practice said the Diabetes Case Conferences have improved his patients’ diabetes management “remarkably”.
“They have given both them and I a well-defined management plan,” Dr Fernando said.
“It is very encouraging to be working alongside with the specialist team and being present at the specialist consultation makes the ongoing follow up very easy – much better than private specialist consults.”
Dr Anne Trang from Riverstone Family Medical Practice said: “These sessions are not only useful for the patient I refer for specialist input, but also provide a unique opportunity for me to learn new diabetes management principles to apply to other patients I see in my practice.”
Patient Geoff Owen, said the joint WSD specialist team and GP case conferences at Mt Druitt Community Health Centre Diabetes Clinic “changed his life completely”.
“I lost over 10kgs and my blood sugars are now at proper levels,” Mr Owen said.
“I am very grateful for the wonderful support from the team at the Mt Druitt Clinic.”
Prof Maberly said WSD aims to increase the proportion of the healthy population living in our district.
“We want to work together with our partners to slow down the progression of people getting diabetes and prevent and reduce health deterioration and devastating co-morbidities from diabetes,” he said.