03 October 2023

There’s a well-quoted saying that “Great satisfaction comes from sharing with others”, and consultant clinical pharmacist George Damuk (pictured), from Pharmacy Focus Rosemeadow, is a firm believer.

SWSPHN Diabetes Coordinator Alyssa Horgan accompanied Mr Damuk on a recent visit to Mount Gilead Estate retirement village where he gave a presentation to residents about diabetes.

He provided an overview of what diabetes was, what symptoms you could suffer from and how it affected the body. He also talked about the care needed to manage the condition to ensure long-term health outcomes.

Pharmacy Focus is the main pharmacy which services this retirement village. As an extension of his dispensing service, Mr Damuk delivers an education session to residents every two months on a topical health issue.

A member of South Western Sydney Primary and Community Diabetes Care Sub-Committee, Mr Damuk has an interest in diabetes and particularly in care around the condition.

He estimates about 50 to 60 per cent of Mount Gilead Estate residents who visit his pharmacy have diabetes, so it was a logical next step to talk to them about the condition.

A South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) diabetes educator and the manager of Campbelltown Hospital’s Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism Translation Unit (DOMTRU) also accompanied Mr Damuk to Mount Gilead Estate.

The team provided an overview of the joint programs and services SWSPHN and SWSLHD provide, such as small group education sessions for type 2 diabetes patients.

They also highlighted the case conferencing service for type 2 diabetes patients, where an endocrinologist and diabetes educator attend a general practice for the day to run a diabetes clinic for patients.

Mount Gilead Estate residents who attended the talk were engaged with the information.

Mr Damuk is keen to look at opportunities to deliver education sessions to other retirement villages and aged care homes. He wants to promote the message that pharmacists are integral to patient care and highlight the role pharmacists can play in patient education.

Mount Gilead Estate residents will learn more about home care in a November talk delivered by a home care provider. Mr Damuk will return in January to lead a discussion about a health condition nominated by residents.

For more information, or to discuss booking a diabetes case conference clinic day, contact SWSPHN Priority Populations Program Coordinator Alyssa Horgan at Alyssa.Horgan@swsphn.com.au.

21 September 2023

Registrations are now open for Western Sydney Diabetes’ Masterclass face-to-face day on Saturday, 21 October at the Parkroyal Parramatta.

Numbers are limited so don’t miss your chance to get in early to hear from the experts on a range of topics to help GPs manage their patients’ diabetes.

Register for session

The day starts with a keynote talk by cardiologist Professor Clara Chow, who will speak on Unleashing the Power of AI: Chronic Disease Management.

This will be followed by eight sessions on diabetes management including feet, injectables, nutrition, Medicare reform, Continuous Glucose Monitoring, diabetes prevention and health literacy.

This event is for GPs, pharmacists, diabetes educators, practice and community nurses, endocrinologists, dietitians, exercise physiologists, psychologists and podiatrists to better equip them with the skills to better manage diabetes.

The series is facilitated by Western Sydney, South Western Sydney, Nepean Blue Mountains, Hunter New England Local Health Districts and Primary Health Networks, the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Translational Research Unit (DOMTRU), National Association of Diabetes Centres (NADC) and Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI).

Download the program

More than 1,000 people have registered for the virtual sessions of this series, which runs on Tuesdays at 7pm, until 7 November. If you miss a session, you can jump back in at any time to watch the recordings and see the slides on myINTERACT.

Use a certificate of attendance to claim CPD points for each session once you have completed a survey at the end of each session.

20 September 2023

This week has been a timely reminder extreme heat can have a serious impact on people’s health.

Heatwaves and hot weather have killed more people in Australia than any other disaster.

Extreme heat can be dangerous for anyone, however it is particularly dangerous for those:

  • over the age of 75
  • babies and young children
  • overweight or obese
  • pregnant or breastfeeding
  • poor mobility
  • who are homeless
  • socially isolated, living alone
  • working in a hot environment
  • have a chronic illness (such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, mental illness)
  • have an acute illness (an infection with fever or gastroenteritis)
  • taking certain medications

Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency.

It occurs when the body temperature rises about 40.5 degrees.

Immediate first aid is critical to lowering the body temperature as soon as possible.

The effect of heat on chronic conditions

Most heat-related morbidity and mortality is due to the exacerbation of chronic conditions.

Conditions which most commonly contribute to death during a heatwave include:

  • cardiac events
  • asthma or other respiratory illness
  • kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • nervous system diseases
  • cancer

Dehydration and subsequent medication toxicity may exacerbate:

  • altered mental state
  • kidney stones
  • cardiovascular impairment
  • falls

Heat and medication

Some medications can increase the risk of heat-related illness. Some can also be less effective when exposed to high temperatures.

The following medications can be impacted by heat. (This list should be used as a guide only)

Interference with sweating, caused by:

  • anticholinergics, for example tricyclic antidepressants and benztropine
  • beta blockers
  • antihistamines
  • phenothiazines
  • vasoconstrictors

Interference with thermoregulation, caused by:

  • antipsychotics or neuroleptics, for example risperidone, clozapine, olanzapine
  • serotoninergic agonists
  • stimulants, for example amphetamine, cocaine
  • thyroxin

Decreased thirst, caused by:

  • butyrophenone, for example haloperidol and droperidol
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

Dehydration or electrolyte imbalance, caused by:

  • diuretics, especially loop diuretics
  • any drug causing diarrhoea or vomiting, for example colchicines, antibiotics, codeine
  • alcohol

Reduced renal function, caused by:

  • NSAIDS
  • sulphonamides
  • indinavir
  • cyclosporine

Aggravation of heat illness by worsening hypotension, caused by:

  • vasodilators, for example nitrates (GTN) and calcium channel blockers
  • anti-hypertensives

Levels of drug affected by dehydration (possible toxicity for drugs with a narrow therapeutic index), caused by:

  • digoxin
  • lithium
  • warfarin
  • antiepileptics
  • biguanides, for example metformin
  • statins
  • altered state of alertness, caused by any drugs which alter the state of alertness, for example alcohol, benzodiazepine and narcotics

Resources to help you prepare for heatwaves

At-risk community members can prepare for heatwaves and heatstroke using the resources below:

Heatstroke – Health Resource Directory

Preparing for a heatwave – Health Resource Directory

Healthcare providers can find more information at:

Beat the heat (nsw.gov.au)

25 August 2023

Hear and learn from a prestigious program of panellists at the Western Sydney Diabetes Masterclass 2023 series, starting Tuesday, 5 September at 7pm.

This is the fifth year of the series which targets GPs, pharmacists, diabetes educators, practice and community nurses, endocrinologists, dietitians, exercise physiologists, psychologists and podiatrists, to equip them with the skills to better manage type 2 diabetes.

The series is a collaboration between Western Sydney, South Western Sydney, Nepean Blue Mountains, Hunter New England LHDs and PHNs, Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Translational Research Unit, National Association of Diabetes Centres and the Agency of Clinical Innovation.

Another high quality and comprehensive series is expected, with seven weeks of a virtual program featuring expert guest speakers, interactive case studies and panel discussions each evening.

The virtual webcast series will run from 7pm to 8.30pm on Tuesday nights from 5 September to 7 November. Download the full program.

You can register at any time. Even if you registered last year, you must register again (here) this year.

SAVE THE DATE: A face-to-face session will be held on Saturday, 21 October, at the Parkroyal Parramatta. A separate registration link is still to come.

Masterclass co-ordinator and endocrine registrar, Dr Ummul Mahfuza, said diabetes was a significant burden of disease with multiple complications.

“Early recognition and management of diabetes can prevent or delay these complications and improve quality of life of our patients,” Dr Mahfuza said.  

“We have carefully selected topical themes relevant to general practice in managing different aspects of diabetes and metabolic disease which will be delivered virtually as well as face-to-face.” 

The series activity can be logged using my CPD dashboard on the RACGP website – click on the ‘Quick Log’ and record the activity.

Inquiries: WSLHD-WSDiabetes@health.nsw.gov.au

08 August 2023

Do you have type 2 diabetic patients who would benefit from receiving free advice and support from a diabetes educator? SWSPHN has partnered with South Western Sydney Local Health District to provide small group diabetes education sessions at your practice for your patients.

The sessions are FREE and run for two-hours for groups of eight people. Sessions are only available to practices within South Western Sydney.

 

Session times: 9-11am or 2.30-4.30pm
Session days: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday subject to availability.

 

All you need to do is:

  • Book a session with SWSPHN
  • Invite eight of your patients who are newly diagnosed or with an existing diagnosis of type 2 diabetes
  • Ensure a room is available to fit nine people
  • Confirm patient attendance the day before

Download flyer

 

Book a session for your practice

Contact Alyssa Horgan from South Western Sydney PHN for bookings and enquiries.
Em alyssa.horgan@swsphn.com.au
Ph 4632 3088

 

Sessions for patients living in South Western Sydney made possible thanks to the partnership between South Western Sydney PHN and South Western Sydney LHD.

11 July 2023

SWSPHN and South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) have partnered to deliver tailored case conferencing for patients with type 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes Case Conference Clinic Days have been available to GPs in South Western Sydney since last year. The local program has been adapted from diabetes programs established by the Diabetes Alliance within the Hunter New England Local Health District.

SWSPHN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Keith McDonald PhD, explained what a Diabetes Case Conference Clinic Day entailed.

“An endocrinologist and diabetes educator attends a general practice for the day to run a clinic for type 2 diabetes patients,” he said.

“Eight eligible patients each receive a 40-minute case conference. A follow-up review will occur six months later.

“Diabetes clinics not only allow for improved patient care, but also upskill GPs in diabetes management.”

Dr McDonald said case conferencing with a specialist team in collaboration with the patients’ GP provided “robust clinical care” and subsequent decreases in hospital admissions.

 

Dr Vipin Goyal (left) demonstrating how to conduct a blood glucose test

 

He said the main benefit of diabetes case conferencing, and this model in particular, was the continuity of care the patient had with their GP.

Dr McDonald also detailed the benefits of the appointment for patients.

“They don’t have the issues of cost, travel, parking and long wait times to get in to see a specialist. It’s also an opportunity for them to have personalised education and treatment from a diabetes educator,” he said.

“It is both innovative and efficient.”

Dr McDonald said the service model was also attractive to general practices.

“GPs can charge an MBS item 743 which is $213.15 per patient, so this model enables quite comprehensive care while also adequately remunerating the GP – this makes it worth their while to do it,” he said.

He said one of the main aims of case conferencing was to upskill GPs.

“Not only do they learn some of the diabetes education side of things, but they get to learn from so many different patients.”

There are many benefits to running a diabetes clinic, including:

  • MBS remuneration of $213.15 per 40-minute consultation
  • Confidence in managing complex type 2 diabetes patients
  • GP access to one-on-one education from diabetes specialists
  • Develop an integrated approach to diabetes across general practice, allied health, hospital and specialist services
  • Reduce the organisational burden of individual case conferences by running an efficient and streamlined day clinic
  • Practices can choose how many GPs participate in the clinic
  • Optional lunchtime education session for practice staff
  • Support from SWSPHN and SWSLHD to arrange and facilitate clinics
  • Claim hours towards RACGP continuing professional development

Currently, two diabetes clinics are held weekly across South Western Sydney. To date ,14 practices have held 20 clinics, with 38 clinics already scheduled for the remainder of 2023 across 30 practices.

Dr McDonald said there was a big demand for the service.

“We’re expecting 500 consults will be held this year,” he said.

In a survey of patients who have used the service, 79.2 per cent of respondents said the appointments were very helpful.

One patient said of the clinic: “Very helpful. Excellent to have it all arranged for me.” Another said: “I was satisfied with how it went. I feel like I am able to manage health decisions better.”

GP feedback included: “Our surgery and medical practice are grateful for the endocrinologist and the diabetic educator who were able to come to our surgery as many of our patients would not be able to afford a private endocrinologist and waiting for a spot can take up to three to six months. We are so grateful and with our GP team – we were able to provide 90 per cent attendance. Please continue the service as it will be very well attended and by keen GPs such as us. Thank you for the service.”

Dr Vipin Goyal, from Liverpool Medical Centre, said his practice had offered two clinics since February.

“The patients had a good experience. They felt like someone was caring for them and was interested in their health,” Dr Goyal said. “They are also happy there will be a follow-up review.”

Dr Goyal (pictured above left demonstrating how to conduct a blood glucose test) emphasised the value of the clinics to patients in terms of improving their health, but also financially because clinics were free to patients.

Dr Goyal said he also benefited professionally.

“It helps me on a personal level,” he said. “The patient is taken care of, and I am learning too.”

For more information, or to discuss booking a case conference clinic day, contact SWSPHN Priority Populations Program Advisor Alyssa Horgan via phone at 4632 3088 or email at Alyssa.Horgan@swsphn.com.au

29 June 2023

A program which gives people with type 2 diabetes access to a specialist team working with their regular GP is available to people in South Western Sydney.

South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) and South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) have partnered to deliver diabetes clinic days at general practices for type 2 diabetes patients.

The clinics aim to enhance care for diabetes patients, improving their health and decreasing hospital admissions.

National Diabetes Week, July 9 to July 15, raises awareness about diabetes which affects 1.3 million Australians.

Diabetes is a chronic condition which affects the whole body. Diabetes occurs when the body can’t maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a form of sugar. It is the main source of energy for our bodies. Unhealthy levels of glucose in the blood can lead to health complications.

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes

According the South Western Sydney Diabetes Framework to 2026:

  • 66,740 people living in South Western Sydney are known to have diabetes (6.9 per cent of the population)
  • 9 per cent of all women have preexisting diabetes or gestational diabetes during their pregnancy
  • By 2025, there will be up to 122,000 people in South Western Sydney living with diabetes and by 2031, up to 151,000

According to Diabetes Australia, type 2 diabetes is increasing at the fastest rate, accounting for more than 86 per cent of diabetes cases in Australia.

Lifestyle modification interventions can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

SWSPHN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Keith McDonald PhD, said the Diabetes Case Conference Clinic Days were “efficient and innovative”.

“Patients don’t have the issues of cost, travel, parking and long wait times to get in to see a specialist,” he said. “It’s also an opportunity for them to have personalised education and treatment from a diabetes educator.”

GPs also benefit from upskilling to better manage their type 2 diabetes patients.

Currently, two diabetes clinics are held weekly across South Western Sydney. To date, 14 practices have held 20 clinics, with 38 clinics already scheduled for the remainder of 2023 across 30 practices.

Dr McDonald said there was a massive demand for the service.

“We’re expecting that 500 consults will be held this year,” he said.

In a survey of patients who have used the service, 79.2 per cent of respondents said the appointments were very helpful.

One patient said of the clinic: “Very helpful. Excellent to have it all arranged for me.” Another said: “I was satisfied with how it went. I feel like I am able to manage health decisions better.”

Dr Vipin Goyal, from Liverpool Medical Centre, said his practice had offered two clinics since February.

“The patients had a good experience. They felt like someone was caring for them and was interested in their health,” Dr Goyal said. “They are also happy there will be a follow-up review.”

Dr Goyal emphasised the value of the clinics to patients in terms of improving their health, but also financially because clinics were free to patients.

PICTURE CAPTION: Dr Vipin Goyal (above left) demonstrating how to conduct a blood glucose test.

22 June 2023

National Diabetes Week will run from 9 to 15 July, and this year the focus is on challenging diabetes-related stigma.

The annual event includes fundraising and helps raise awareness and works towards prevention. 

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, chronic kidney disease and dialysis, lower limb amputations, heart disease, stroke, complications in pregnancy and poor pregnancy outcomes.

These complications can have a significant impact on individuals, communities and the health system.

If you’re diabetic, you will be aware of the impact diabetes has on your life and how it affects other aspects of your health, including mental health.

GPs recommend you have a good care plan in place to manage your diabetes and to keep ahead of any possible complications.

Diabetes is entrenched in the community: 1.5 million Australians live with diabetes, 120,000 people diagnosed with diabetes each year and 400,000 Australians at high risk of diabetes.

In South Western Sydney, 14.5 per cent of people live with diabetes or high blood sugar, higher than the state average of 11.3 per cent – and that number is steadily growing.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes, a genetic condition which often shows up early in life
  • Type 2 diabetes, mainly lifestyle-related and develops over time
  • Gestational diabetes, occurs during pregnancy
Find out more about diabetes
20 June 2023

GPs looking to refer patients to hospital diabetes services are required to use the service referral form for the Local Government Area (LGA) where the patient resides.

10 May 2023

The strong focus on primary care, with the tripling of the bulk billing incentive and investment in the health workforce to better meet the health needs of the Australians in the 21st century, were among the welcome features of Tuesday’s Federal Budget.

South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) Acting Chief Executive Officer, Kristen Short, said there was little doubt primary care had been struggling in recent years, with fewer practices in a position to bulk bill, further highlighting the need for strong and ongoing funding commitment for the sector.

“The $3.5 billion committed to bulk billing incentives, $98.2 million for new Medicare rebates for patients who require consultations of longer than 60 minutes and $445.1 million to support team-based care in general practice, are welcome measures to support the revival and protection of a healthcare system which has served us well for decades,” she said.

Other investments of interest to primary care, in particular general practices in South Western Sydney include:

  • $358.5 million for Medicare Urgent Care Clinics
  • $143.9 million for after hours primary care
  • $91.5 million to improve mental health by addressing workforce shortages

Ms Short said SWSPHN had a particular focus on innovative projects like iRAD, the New to General Practice Nursing program and My Care Partners to build capacity and support our general practices in delivering accessible, effective and timely care to our community.

She noted investment in digital health ($951.2 million); increasing the number of nurses in primary care ($10.7 million); and increasing incentives for general practices to employ a range of health professionals to provide team-based primary care ($445.1 million) would support those projects which were already improving the health of our region.

“Primary care is the cornerstone of our healthcare system, and SWSPHN looks forward to continuing to work with and support primary care providers across our region on the projects, services and other activities funded in this budget.

“We particularly welcome the focus in the budget on multidisciplinary team care and voluntary patient enrolment and look forward to seeing how it complements our local medical neighbourhood model of care, My Care Partners, which has been working for the past two years to reduce avoidable hospital admissions and enhance care coordination for people with multiple chronic diseases.”