Speeches

Diabetes

Mr RAMSEY (GreyGovernment Whip) (10:11): Just a short report to the parliament on the success of the diabetes testing day conducted by Pathology Australia in conjunction with the Parliamentary Friends of Diabetes yesterday, right here in parliament. One hundred tests were carried out yesterday in the old FCM travel offices adjacent to Aussies, and a successful luncheon was held, with very good attendance from members and senators, in the Senate alcove. I thank them for their attendance. We were addressed by John Carruthers from Pathology Australia, Greg Johnson from Diabetes Australia and Associate Professor Graham Jones from the St Vincent's Hospital pathology unit in Sydney. We also had a strong personal testament from Pat, a local Canberran—even though she hailed from Melbourne originally. Pat's message to us was quite simple: seek diagnosis if you suspect anything might be amiss and then take an active part in your disease management. The health system, the doctors, the nurses are all there to help and have many of the answers to make sure that diabetes sufferers can live well with diabetes, but their ability to help is limited to you, the patient. If the patient does not follow instructions, it is all much harder.

I thank Greg Johnson for his focus on demonstrating that this epidemic is a global issue. Many people think it is just a problem of the First World. It is not. It is wreaking havoc through the developing world. Currently, there are 450 million sufferers worldwide, a total heading for 642 million by 2040. There are projected to be 140 million sufferers in South-East Asia. There are 109 million sufferers in China now and there will be 150 million by 2040. By comparison, the US—oft-quoted as the most obese nation in the world, even though there is not a lot of difference between them and us, I must say—has 29 million now and is projected to have 35 million by 2040. In Australia, the number of people registered under the National Diabetes Services Scheme has risen by more than 40 per cent in the last 10 years. I have some further figures: 30 per cent of hospital admissions in Australia are diabetes related; there are 840,000 diabetes-related hospital admissions a year, and 320,000 of those are diabetics with cardiovascular and/or kidney disease; there are, sadly, 4,400 diabetic amputations each year; and almost everyone with type 1 diabetes and 60 per cent of people with type 2 will develop eye disease within 20 years of diagnosis.

However, great work is being done in the area. There are strong government commitments to ongoing medical trials and support for continuous glucose monitoring machines. There have been advances in retinal screening and electronic monitoring, and there is fabulous research striving to find cures here in Australia and abroad. There is much to be optimistic about. Next week, the Parliamentary Friends of Diabetes will be hosting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in parliament, with lunch in 1R1 as well—on Tuesday.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Vamvakinou ): I thank the member for Grey for the advertisement.

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