Today, a new consultation paper for the development of the National Diabetes Strategy was launched by Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley.
The paper was developed by the National Diabetes Strategy Advisory Group and has been a year-long process involving many stakeholders. I attended a consultation day last year, where I was asked to provide consumer input into living with diabetes.
The release of this paper means that the broader diabetes community can now have their input.
It’s really easy to feel that these sorts of documents are a little highbrow and not designed for people actually living with diabetes. There are a lot of facts and stats that have no real bearing on actual day-to-day living with diabetes. But they do serve to highlight the magnitude of the issue and the urgency in which a National Strategy is required.
Five goals have been identified:
1. Reduce the prevalence and incidence of people developing type 2 diabetes
2. Promote earlier diabetes detection
3. Reduce the occurrence of diabetes-related complications and improve quality of life among people with diabetes
4. Reduce the impact of diabetes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other high risk groups
5. Strengthen prevention and care through research, evidence and data.
A significant portion of the document is dedicated to the prevention of type 2 diabetes – as there should be considering the size of this issue – but there is also excellent discussion about those living with diabetes and how to improve our lives. The focus on diabetes-related complications is welcome. Most pleasingly, attention is being given to improved early detection of diabetes. For type 1 diabetes, the aim is to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be life-threatening.
The launch of this document coincides with the opening of the online consultation process which means that anyone and everyone can provide feedback. That doesn’t only mean health organisations, healthcare professionals or professional bodies. It equally – and perhaps even more importantly – means those affected in a very personal way by diabetes. You. And me.
I was quite critical when the Advisory Group was formed and no consumers were included so we really need to take advantage of the consultation period to make sure that we are heard.
Living with a chronic health condition that doesn’t take a break – especially diabetes with its significant self-management requirements – while trying to navigate a health system that, at times, is downright user UN-friendly can be tough. Really tough. How can things be improved? What is working? What isn’t? Share your ideas and story to help develop a strategy that will make things easier.
The release of the paper also coincides with my ‘diaversary’. It was on 15 April 1998 that I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and for the last seventeen years, I have been trying to manage my diabetes as well as I possibly can. Any opportunity to improve the system and help the lives of those of us living with diabetes is important. Any attention given to reducing the impact of diabetes on the community, but most importantly those of us living with diabetes is something we should welcome and celebrate.