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Diabetes patients will move from hospitals
[Posted: Sat 12/05/2012 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
All patients with uncomplicated diabetes will be treated in GP practices rather than in hospital in future under new plans for changes in the treatment of chronically-ill patients, Health Minister James Reilly has said.
The Minister told the annual conference of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) it is planned that uncomplicated type 2 diabetes patients, numbering about 100,000, will in future be managed solely in primary care.
Patients with complicated diabetes, numbering around 60,000, will be treated by both primary care and hospitals.
Those with type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes and other diabetes patients such as those with genetically-caused diabetes and post-transplant diabetes, will be managed solely in hospitals. These patients number around 30,000.
Dr Reilly said uncomplicated type 2 diabetes patients would have three check-up visits per year to their GP, while more complicated cases would have two GP and one hospital visit each year.
Referring to the need to develop primary care teams to provide this type of chronic disease service, the Minister said of the 403 teams currently said to be officially in place, only one-third were currently fully operational.
Dr Reilly said an expansion of primary care centres for these teams to work in was a priority. He said his Department was negotiating with a major fundholder with a view to providing investment in primary care centres.
Welcoming this move, ICGP Chief Executive Kieran Ryan said using venture capital to fund the provision of new centres could assist younger GPs who cannot get funding to help them set up in practice. However, the 'devil would be in the detail' of such a scheme.
Mr Ryan said there was an urgent need to negotiate a new contract for GPs to provide for the transfer of chronic illness care to primary care and for the planned free GP treatment scheme.
The Minister told the meeting that under recent new provisions to open up entry for more GPs to the medical card scheme, 67 doctors had now applied for a medical card contract and 29 had so far been given a contract.
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