Oral Presentation The Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian Diabetes Society and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association 2013

Diabetes Education and Management: What do rural GPs think? (#21)

Pauline Hill 1
  1. Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA, Australia

Diabetes is one of the fastest growing chronic diseases in Australia and the burden is much greater for people in low socioeconomic circumstances, Aboriginal people and those from rural and remote areas. This study explored the perspectives of General Practitioners about diabetes education and management in one rural region. One hundred and seventy one General Practitioners were recruited from a rural Medicare Local to complete an online survey. The population of this Medicare Local is approximately 200,000 people, with 41 hospitals, 27 community health centres and 10 Aboriginal health services. The survey collected information about: • Health care services required by patients in the GPs practice • Access to allied health professionals • Understandings about role nomenclature and scope of practice • Patient referrals and communication with allied health professionals. The survey found the majority of GPs (80%) identified that 50% or more of their patients required healthy eating education, weight loss education and physical activity education. Whilst many GPs (87%) identified having access to dietetic and diabetes educator services, the text based responses identified the need for greater access to dietetic services, more one to one education and faster access to diabetes educators. Interestingly, many GPs did not know the meaning of medical nutrition therapy and a third did not know the difference between a diabetes educator and a credentialed diabetes educator. These limited understandings about role nomenclature and scope of practice were further amplified by a misunderstanding about which health professionals are eligible to become credentialed diabetes educators. Two thirds of GP respondents received feedback about treatment provided but more than half received limited feedback about education plans, action plans, goal setting and behaviour changes. This survey highlights the need for improved communication by health professionals about their roles and how they can contribute to improving the health of people with diabetes in rural communities