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First Public Audit Highlights Diabetes

14 March 2002


First Public Audit Highlights Diabetes
Response to Auditor-General’s report

Diabetes New Zealand welcomes the report of the Controller and Auditor-General on primary health care purchasing, which was tabled in Parliament today. For the first time the Auditor General’s office has audited primary health care and made recommendations on the needs of an effective primary health care approach. Diabetes was identified as an area that is falling short of the needs of New Zealanders.

The report makes very strong recommendations because there is very limited monitoring and needs analysis being undertaken currently.

“The information in this report is highly significant for the 205,000 people estimated to have diabetes in New Zealand,” said spokesperson for Diabetes New Zealand, Professor Don Beaven.

“However, if these recommendations are not taken on board by the Ministry of Health and DHBs, then the provision of primary health care services will continue to fall short of the health needs of the New Zealand population, despite increased general funding from the Government.”

The report also supports previous Diabetes New Zealand research, which was commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers last year, by highlighting current services for diabetes cost $249 million.

“The report states that the Ministry (of Health) and DHBs need data on the number of people with diabetes and the severity of their condition to plan for treatment of severe diabetes-related illnesses such as blindness, lower limb disease, heart disease, stroke and kidney failure,” said Professor Beaven.

“Currently the Government is gathering data as a result of Government subsidies to GPs through the Get Checked programme. Through this programme, GPs are encouraged to check people with diabetes on an annual basis. They are checked for eight key measures of diabetes, including eye-sight, kidney function, blood pressure, weight etc.

“We can estimate for any region the number of people that should be on the register. Wherever an IPA is not achieving to build its register to the estimated figures we can be certain the quality of public health education in that area is inadequate.

“While the information gathered by IPAs is currently variable, and in most areas falling short of targets, the system is in place, and with careful management this programme can meet the information gathering needs identified in the Auditor General’s report.

“The quality of this health information is an important public health issue,” said Professor Beaven. “Diabetes is already two years into developing an effective register of epidemiology. It will provide an excellent prototype for other health conditions.

The report is available on www.oag.govt.nz

Ends

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