A leading health body is calling on the NSW state government to subsidise important medical procedures for patients with diabetes, following new research highlighting the link between weight loss surgery and the reversal of the disease.
According to Fairfax Media reports today (April 2), the Australian Diabetes Council has suggested that the O'Farrell government should provide funding for surgery such as gastric banding for obese Australians with diabetes.
The council believes that up to 8,000 of the 300,000 diabetes sufferers in the state without private health insurance would be eligible for the stomach-reducing operation.
Figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare earlier this year revealed that the prevalence of diabetes in Australia had increased from 1.5 to 4.1 per cent in the 20 years to 2007-08.
Some private health insurance providers offer cover for gastric banding and obesity surgery, helping to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses of such procedures.
Major weight loss surgery often requires significant aftercare and support, including monthly check-ups until a goal weight is reached, band adjustments and consultations with psychologists, dieticians and nutritionists.