Diabetes care will be focus of cluster's new plan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 September, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 September, 2006, 12:00am

Raising the standard of all-round care for diabetes patients will be the focus of New Territories East Cluster's plan for 2006-07.

Cluster chief executive Fung Hong said the plan would concentrate on improving primary care of diabetes patients in clinics and hospitals, providing real-time communications between private and public doctors and expanding community outreach programmes to reduce the frequency and length of hospital stays.

An estimated 100,000 people have diabetes in New Territories East, of whom 44,000 seek treatment with the Hospital Authority. Ten per cent of those were admitted to hospital in 2005-06.

Studies conducted by Chinese University researchers at Prince of Wales Hospital show the risk of heart disease, kidney disease and death for diabetics can be halved if patients are checked by a nurse every two months, by a doctor every four months and they receive a comprehensive annual check-up.

'In 2006-07, we hope to strengthen the primary care of diabetes patients in clinics to meet those targets and improve the gatekeeping of diabetes patients to reduce the burden on hospitals and speciality clinics,' Dr Fung said. 'We will continue to expand our Community Outreach Service Team in residences and elderly homes.'

Dr Fung said many patients lapsed into their old habits after receiving treatment and forgot what they had been told about diet and medication by their doctor. He said this was especially true of elderly patients who were set in their ways.

'By conducting regular health checks and informing them we hope to ward off further complications and reduce the need to go to hospital,' Dr Fung said.

He also unveiled the Public Private Interface System, a web-based medical records database that can be accessed by public and private doctors, allowing the exchange of information on individual patients who receive treatment from both medical sectors.

Dr Fung said the database was expected to process the details of about 6,000 of the most severely diabetic patients and it would later be expanded to patients suffering from other diseases. A parallel database for nurses would be established next year.