16 May 2013

Extra funding to combat rising diabetes

2:54 pm on 16 May 2013

The Government is to spend an extra $35.5 million over four years on better services for those with diabetes and heart disease.

The new funding, which amounts to an extra almost $9 million a year, was announced in the Budget on Thursday.

It includes $15.9 million to increase the number of people getting heart and diabetes checks - one of the Government's six key health targets that has been widely considered the most difficult for health boards to achieve.

As well, $12.4 million of the total is to expand local diabetes care programmes, such as specialist diabetes nursing and podiatry services.

Funding for so-called Green Prescriptions, which involve a family doctor or a nurse prescribing exercise or an improved diet or lifestyle change for a patient, is doubled at a cost of $7.2 million over the next four years.

Another $12.8 million of the total is to enable more patients to access a general practice programme known as CarePlus, which provides extra support for patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

Diabetes - most of it obesity and lifestyle-related type 2 - is rising at 8% a year.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says it's one of the fastest-growing long-term conditions, and associated cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death.