Diabetes Queensland member Jenny Watkins speaks at
the Queensland Government media conference. Also pictured: Diabetes
Queensland CEO Michelle Trute (left) and Health and Ambulance
Services Minister Cameron Dick.
The Queensland Government will launch a $5 million initiative
over two years for potentially life-saving bariatric (weight loss)
surgery for up to 300 Queenslanders with type 2 diabetes.
Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said people
aged 18 to 65 suffering from type 2 diabetes and obesity-related
complications would be considered for the surgery.
"We know two in three adults in Queensland are overweight or
obese," Mr Dick said.
"People who are obese are four times more likely to develop type
2 diabetes than those who are in the healthy weight range.
"Diabetes is associated with serious health complications and
reduced life expectancy.
"Along with type 2 diabetes, obesity is linked to a number of
other serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease,
sleep apnoea and certain cancers."
Through this initiative, Queenslanders with obesity and
uncontrolled type 2 diabetes who are aged 18-65 and are currently
receiving public hospital specialist treatment for a condition that
may be reversed or improved by bariatric surgery, may be eligible
"The medical evidence suggests that in this
group it is possible in many cases to switch off the type 2
diabetes and transform the health of the patient," Mr Dick
"Not only is this great for patients, but it
also significantly reduces the costs to the healthcare
"Currently bariatric surgery exists in a small number of pockets
across Queensland, with the majority of bariatric surgeries
financed through private insurers or self-funded.
"But surgery is only an option when lifestyle
interventions, such as healthy eating and physical activity, and
medical treatments have not been successful.
"Prevention remains the best remedy for this major public health
issue and we will continue to invest in education and behaviour
"This initiative means that no matter where you live, if you are
a patient within this group you may be eligible for surgery."
"This is another way the Palaszczuk Government is fighting the
"Obesity impacts individuals, families and the economy, with the
total costs in Queensland estimated to be $11.5 billion in
Mr Dick said the initiative was a recommendation of Queensland's
peak clinical body, the Queensland Clinical Senate.
Queensland Clinical Senate Chair Dr David Rosengren said the
bariatric initiative was a step in the right direction, but the
surgery would only be used as a last resort.
"We know the safest and best option to obtain a healthy weight
is through healthy eating and exercise, but for those who are not
successful, and have severe obesity, this may be the best option,"
said Dr Rosengren.
"Studies have shown that bariatric surgery can deliver much
improved diabetes control and even resolution of diabetes in many
AMA Queensland President Dr Bill Boyd said he was pleased to see
that Queensland Health had taken steps to make bariatric surgery
more accessible for the morbidly obese.
"AMA Queensland recommended government funding for bariatric
surgery as part of our five-year Health Vision for the state," Dr
"Obesity is a factor in many chronic illnesses and creates
substantial long-term costs to the health system.
"People who are morbidly obese are often unable to lose weight
without bariatric surgery this investment will help take pressure
off our healthcare system in the long term."
Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute said that in the general
population, healthy eating and exercise could stop the trend to
serious type 2 diabetes complications such as blindness, kidney
disease and lower limb amputation in up to 60 per cent of
"Today's announcement offers surgery as a lifeline to those for
whom all other weight loss options have already passed," she
"It brings hope to people facing drastic consequences, among
them many for whom life itself hangs in the balance."
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