12 April 2024

Metro diabetes services are connecting with the Murrumbidgee to improve patient care

| Chris Roe
Start the conversation
St Vincent's Health Network is teaming up with services in the Murrumbidgee to improve diabetes care.

St Vincent’s Health Network is teaming up with services in the Murrumbidgee to improve diabetes care. Photo: PixelsEffect.

With the rates of diabetes steadily increasing across the regions, local health organisations are teaming up with Sydney’s St Vincent’s Health Network to bridge the gap in specialist diabetes care.

One in 20 Australians has been diagnosed with diabetes, with rates increasing with age and lifestyle and in higher proportions in rural communities.

To improve regional services, the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) and Murrumbidgee Local Health District have helped to co-design the Diabetes Regional Education, Access, and Management (DREAM) initiative.

“Compared with all NSW Primary Health Networks, our region has the highest prevalence of diabetes, affecting more than 10 per cent of our total adult population,” MPHN Acting CEO Narelle Mills said.

“Offering patients access to local specialist services, which complement and work with our existing specialists and primary care providers, is pivotal to enhancing health outcomes.

“This initiative also affords our region’s general practitioners and practice nurses the chance to glean insights from some of Australia’s leading diabetes specialists.”

READ ALSO Grassroots efforts aim to enhance drought preparedness in the Riverina

The first DREAM outreach clinics were held in Tumut earlier in the year providing a chance for local patients and medical professionals to connect with the team from the St Vincent’s Diabetes Service.

Diabetes Clinical Nurse Consultant Gael Holters leads the St Vincent’s project and said it was a great way to improve care and foster connections.

“Being in the Murrumbidgee is helping us better understand the unique challenges and needs of rural communities in managing diabetes,” said Ms Holters.

“Through this initiative, we’ll be able to tailor our approach to best fit the circumstances here, ensuring we’re not just implementing standard protocols, but crafting solutions that reflect the realities of rural life.”

Gundagai Medical Centre also hosted a DREAM outreach clinic last month and medical professionals were invited to attend a professional development session at the RSL, showcasing the latest advances in care and discussing some of the complex cases they were dealing with.

READ ALSO Riverina Multiple Sclerosis patients to receive specialised care closer to home

Professor Jerry Greenfield is the Head of the Department of Endocrinology and Director of Diabetes Services at St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney and founded the DREAM initiative.

He said the connections made through the medical centre were fruitful and praised local health workers.

“Their dedication to improving diabetes care in Gundagai is truly commendable,” Professor Greenfield said.

“It has been very rewarding to work with local healthcare professionals to ensure the rural and regional diabetes population have access to the best possible and equitable care and experience.”

Ms Holters agreed that the connection with MPHN had been “invaluable” in facilitating the involvement of local practices and hoped the program would continue to expand.

“We are excited to collaborate with practices in the Murrumbidgee who may be interested in joining our initiative.”

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.