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The guidelines are supported by the HSE and were developed in conjunction with the National Clinical Programme Diabetes Working Group.
Speaking yesterday at the launch Minister Varadkar said: “I commend the ICGP for developing these guidelines for integrated diabetes care. I want to shift the emphasis in our health service away from an ‘illness model’ dependent on care in hospitals, to a model where primary care services are strengthened and health and wellbeing are promoted.
“We have already launched a diabetes cycle of care for adult patients with type 2 diabetes who hold a medical card or GP visit card. To date, over 66,000 patients with diabetes have been registered for the service. Diabetes is increasing in Ireland and these guidelines from the ICGP will be invaluable for GPs in providing care to patients.”
During the launch, the Minister reiterated his commitment to universal healthcare and universal GP care, despite saying recently that it would not be possible to roll out during the lifetime of the next government, largely due to a shortage of GPs. He said while he wanted to increase GP training numbers, “it would not be realistic to train an additional 2,000 GPs between now and 2025”.
Addressing the launch after the Minister, Dr Velma Harkins, former GP co-lead and author of the guidelines, said the guidelines recognise that the adequate care of people with type 2 diabetes requires a formal and more structured involvement of primary and secondary care sectors together.
“While, in the past, care of diabetes was unstructured and sometimes delivered in an opportunistic manner, the current reality is that as the population has aged, the majority of interactions are with people with chronic diseases who require a more pro-active model of care. General practice which has continuity of care at its core is uniquely placed to ensure the flexibility to deal with the diverse demands of people at different stages of their disease,” she continued.
Dr Mary Sheehan, Chairperson of ICGP said, “The launch of these integrated care guidelines for the management of diabetes in general practice is a positive step for which the Minister should be congratulated. Previous programmes such as the Diabetes Structured Care programme showed the successful outcomes which could be achieved from management of patients with chronic disease in general practice. Typically patients with type 2 diabetes have at least one additional chronic health problem with a quarter having four or more additional chronic conditions. GPs have the unique ability to provide continuity and co-ordination of care for patients with multiple chronic diseases. Irish GPs have clearly demonstrated their ability to provide high quality effective care for these patients given appropriate resources and supports to do so.”
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