Diabetes detection was the theme of this year’s National Diabetes Week – and it was a theme with enormous significance for Blacktown.
Diabetes testing in Blacktown and Mt Druitt emergency departments has revealed alarming statistics – almost 12,000 people have been identified as having diabetes or being at risk of risk of diabetes.
The figure was picked up by media outlets across Sydney: WSLHD chief executive Danny O’Connor was interviewed by Alan Jones on 2GB, the director of Western Sydney Diabetes Glen Maberly appeared in the Blacktown Advocate, Blacktown Sun and other newspapers, and was interviewed by 2SM, and patient profiles appeared in several local newspapers.
Throughout National Diabetes Week, from 9-15 of July, a week-long diabetes stall attracted staff, patients and visitors. The stall featured information for people with diabetes as well as information about NSW Health’s Get Healthy program. Recognising that the way to beat diabetes is to lose weight, choose healthy foods, a healthy lifestyle and exercise, many people signed up for the Get Healthy program.
The culmination of Diabetes Week at Blacktown was a Diabetes and Cardiology Forum, held at Western Sydney University Auditorium. More than 100 people attended the Western Sydney Diabetes event, which was co-sponsored by the Blacktown Medical Practitioners Association.
With an opening address by Danny O’Connor, guest speakers included Dr Chandra from the Blacktown Medical Practitioners Association, who spoke about the importance of increasing diabetes testing in GP practices to uncover the true level of undetected diabetes in Blacktown.
Other speakers – private cardiologist Dr Athula Gunesekara, the head of cardiology department at Blacktown, Dr David Burgess, Professor Maberly and community diabetes and endocrinology registrar with Western Sydney Diabetes Dr Ramy Bishay – spoke about the strong correlation between diabetes and heart disease, a presentation of the recent audit in the cardiology unit of Blacktown and new medications providing better outcomes.
The take home message?
We need to act now.