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$5 million bariatric surgery initiative to address type 2 diabetes

QLD Govt launch

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 for surgery.

 

"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 said.

 

"Not only is this great for patients, but it also significantly reduces the costs to the healthcare system. 

 

"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 change campaigns.

 

"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 epidemic.

 

"Obesity impacts individuals, families and the economy, with the total costs in Queensland estimated to be $11.5 billion in 2015."

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 cases."

 

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 Boyd said.

 

"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 cases.

 

"Today's announcement offers surgery as a lifeline to those for whom all other weight loss options have already passed," she said.

 

"It brings hope to people facing drastic consequences, among them many for whom life itself hangs in the balance."

Q & A - Bariactric Surgery

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