Diabetics unsure about scheme

DIABETES Awareness Week has kicked off with sufferers telling the Federal Government that most do not plan to use its new scheme for managing the disease.

A survey has found less than one in four diabetics had heard of the Federal Government’s new scheme for managing and funding diabetes health care, and of those that had heard, the majority rated their understanding of the new scheme as poor.

When key points of the new scheme were presented and compared to the existing Medicare scheme, the majority of diabetics stated that the current Medicare scheme meets their diabetes management requirements and the majority said that they would prefer to continue with their current arrangements with their GP, medical specialists and allied health service providers.

In March the Government announced a $436m funding package to support patients with diabetes by allowing patients to choose to opt out of their Medicare entitlement and enrol with a general practice in order to be eligible for a ‘bundle of care services’.

The Government also proposes to directly fund general practices, rather than the doctors that deliver the care to patients.

According to the Australian Diabetes Council (ADC) that means the financial responsibility for a patient’s care will lie with the practice itself and a patient’s control over their care will be diminished as practices may seek to interfere with clinical decisions made by GPs about the care of their patient for purely economic reasons.

THE ADC is instead supporting an alternative model put forth by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) which it believes will more effectively address the health care needs of people with diabetes.

That alternative scheme gives the person with diabetes control of their own health care, rather than allowing important clinical decisions to be driven by purely economic reasons.

AN information stand will be set up in Palms Shopping on Thursday as part of Diabetes Awareness Week.

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