The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has today released its report Diabetes: Australian Facts, revealing the significant impact of diabetes on people living in rural and regional Australia.
According to the AIHW report, an estimated 1.3 million Australians were living with diabetes in 2020 however, hospitalisation rates for diabetes in 2019-20 were almost three times higher for people living in remote Australia compared to those in major cities.
In 2020, diabetes death rates were also twice as high for people living in remote and very remote areas.
Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health, the Hon. Emma McBride MP says the disparity in Australia’s healthcare system is stark.
“In Australia, the further you live outside a big city, the harder it is for you to access healthcare,” Assistant Minister McBride said.
“In many cases, this leads to worse health outcomes especially for people living with chronic conditions like diabetes, who are facing longer waiting times and higher-out-of-pocket costs.
“As a pharmacist, I know that if people skip or delay care their condition will only get worse – this is bad for their health, it’s bad for our healthcare system, and it’s bad for the economy.”
The AIHW’s report has been released during National Diabetes Week (10-16 July 2022) with this year’s theme, Heads Up on Diabetes, focusing on the mental and emotional challenges of living with diabetes.
“The link between physical health conditions and your mental health and wellbeing is critical,” Assistant Minister McBride said.
According to Diabetes Australia, nearly 50 per cent of people living with diabetes have experienced mental health challenges over the past year.
The Australian Government is committed to improving the lives of people living with diabetes, including by:
- Providing subsidised access to CGM products for all 130,000 Australians living with Type 1 diabetes
- Expanding access to the Insulin Pump Program
- Funding diabetes support programs including the National Diabetes Services Scheme, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and research funding, and
- Endorsing the Australian National Diabetes Strategy 2021-2030 to drive improvements in the prevention, early detection, management, and care of people living with diabetes including in key focus areas like mental health.