Diabetics take up hospital beds

NATIONAL Diabetes Week last week highlighted alarming new figures revealing one in 10 hospital beds in Gympie were being taken up by people with diabetes.

Analysis of data from Queensland Health shows more than half a million bed days across Queensland are devoted to diabetes and its complications each year.

In Gympie, this equates to 2214 bed days, which means that diabetic patients could completely fill the hospital for more than a month each year. Bed days include both overnight and same day patients such as renal dialysis patients who can occupy a renal chair for up to six hours.

Diabetes Australia Queensland CEO Michelle Trute said diabetes was the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia and could not be ignored as it had become the number one avoidable hospitalisation in Queensland, outstripping other conditions such as the flu and asthma.

The Federal Government says more than 30 per cent of preventable hospital admissions in Australia related to diabetes and its complications in 2007/08.

There were 680 diabetes-related admissions to the Gympie Base Hospital in 2008/09.

Based on the current average cost for these admissions, diabetes is conservatively projected to cost Gympie at least $40 million over the next 10 years.

This does not take into account projected increases in health care costs or the growth in the number of people with the disease.

“Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and the driver of premature death and serious complications, including heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, blindness and amputation,” Ms Trute said.

“I urge all Gympie residents to assess their risk of developing the complication.”

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