Province spends $741-million to fight Diabetes

Toronto – An online registry to manage diabetes, im­proved access to insulin pumps and dialysis services, and additional supports are part of a new, $741-million diabetes strategy aimed at improving the lives of 900,000 people.

The key elements of the strategy that will help Onta­rians prevent, manage and treat diabetes. They include:

– Educational campaigns to raise awareness of diabetes risk factors in high risk populations, such as the Aboriginal and South Asian communities.

– Creating an online registry which will help people with diabetes and their health care providers actively co-manage their disease.

– Expanding and improving services and supports for people with diabetes.

– Improving access to insulin pumps and supplies for Type 1 diabetes patients by funding those services for people over the age of 18.

– Expanding chronic kidney disease services, including great­er access to dialysis ser­vices.

– Implementing a strategy to expand access to bariatric sur­gery.

The diabetes strategy builds on internationally accepted best practices and the recommen­dations of the Diabetes man­agement expert panel. That  panel was established by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in 2006, to provide advice on improving diabetes care in Ontario.The electronic diabetes reg­is­try and related provider and patient web portals will be online next spring. That represents the first step towards establishing safe, secure elec­tronic health records for all Ontarians by 2015.

“Our plan will help Ontarians living with diabetes get better access to the care they need, when and where they need it,” said Minister of Health David Caplan. “By im­proving the way we prevent, treat and manage diabetes, thousands of Ontarians will benefit from a better quality of life. The diabetes registry will change the way this disease is managed, ultimately saving more lives and easing hospital wait times.”

Minister of Health Promo­tion Margaret Best said, “We will provide better ac­cess to information, programs and ser­vices to prevent people from get­ting diabetes in the first place. There is solid evidence that tells us that many cases of diabetes can be prevented by increasing daily physical acti­vity and making healthy food choices.”

Interim president and Chief Executive Officer of the  Canadian Diabetes Asso­ciation Cynthia Lees said, “The Canadian Diabetes Association applauds the government of Ontario’s continued commit­ment to investing in a diabetes strategy for Ontarians. This new strategy will provide an estimated 880,000 Ontarians with diabetes the tools they require to effectively manage their disease.”

Dr. Ken Arnold, President, Ontario Medical Asso­cia­tion, said, “The diabetes strategy will improve the capacity of health care providers and pati­ents to work together towards successful diabetes treatment.”

Dr. Catherine Zahn, chair­man of the Diabetes expert panel, said, “The diabe­tes strat­e­gy takes the most up-to-date research and best practices from around the world and matches them with the needs of diabetes patients in Ontario. This will mean better care for diabetes patients across the province.”

Currently, 900,000 Onta­rians are living with diabetes. This number is expected to grow to 1.2 million by 2010.

Diabetes puts people at risk for other serious health com­plications such as heart disease and stroke, kidney and eye disease and limb amputations.

Diabetes treatment and re­lated conditions and complica­tions currently cost approxi­mately $5.12-billion per year in Ontario.A diabetes patient costs Ontario’s health care system over $3,000 in the first year of treatment. If the patient has complications this cost goes up to over $5,000.

For each patient that re­quires in-hospital dialysis, the cost to the Ontario health care system over the course of a year is more than $56,000.