The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA) are calling for no changes to be made to the current model of care for health services for patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
This has come following the suggestion from the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association (ALMA) that group-based Shared Medical Appointments (SMAs), which are predominantly led by GPs and practice nurses would largely replace allied health practitioners in delivering group sessions.
Under the current system, group allied health services offered through Medicare allow Type 2 Diabetes patients to access services from Accredited Exercise Physiologists, Accredited Practising Dietitians and Credentialed Diabetes Educators.
According to ALMA, Shared Medical Appointments fit somewhere between a single clinical consultation and a group education session, with the benefits to doctors including leveraging existing resources to increase productivity by 200% to 300% or more.
ALMA are calling for the SMA model to be tested in sample clinics in Australia if they were approved by Medicare, ad less than successful patient outcomes and long waiting lists have created the urgency to improve the current model of care.
ESSA Senior Industry Development Officer Katie Lyndon said the proposed SMA model did not reflect best practice service delivery, and overlooked the importance of specialised information provided by allied health practitioners (AHPs) to optimise patient health outcomes.
“Whilst we do acknowledge that a SMA model has some merit, the proposal put forward suggests GPs and practice nurses should largely replace qualified allied health practitioners in delivering these group sessions,” Ms Lyndon said.
“This has the potential to increase patients’ risk of adverse outcomes due to neglecting specialised and individualised interventions for people with T2DM such as nutrition therapy, exercise prescription and diabetes self-care education, which is required to successfully manage patient needs, risk factors and comorbidities (the presence of one or more additional disorders).”
“In essence, this approach will reduce the success of AHP group interventions for people with diabetes, lessening patient motivation and compliance and increasing financial costs to the government and medical practices.”
Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) have recently released a report showing that surgery could be avoided if patients with chronic diseases including diabetes were seen by multidisciplinary teams of health professionals.
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Image 1: Diabetes care – flickr
Image 2: Victor – flickr