Posted on 01. Jun, 2010 in Victoria

People with diabetes in Melbourne’s outer south east now have even better access to vital foot care thanks to an innovative Brumby Government funded program fighting chronic disease.

Visiting the service today with Member for Dandenong, John Pandazopolous, Member for Narre Warren North, Luke Donnellan, and Member for Narre Warren South, Judith Graley, Health Minister Daniel Andrews said Southern Health’s successful Happy Feet program had recently moved to Dandenong Hospital to meet growing demand for podiatry services for people with diabetes in Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia.

“The Brumby Government is committed to tackling chronic diseases such as diabetes by boosting access to high quality health services closer to home,” Mr Andrews said.

“That is why we provide Southern Health’s Happy Feet program with $150,000 each year to help people with diabetic foot related conditions better manage their chronic illness.

“This was funded through the Hospital Admission Risk Program (HARP), which aims to improve patient outcomes and access, provide seamless care across hospital and community sectors and reduce avoidable hospital admissions.”

Mr Andrews said Happy Feet, an initiative of South East Diabetes, was first launched at Monash Medical Centre in Clayton in July 2009 and moved to better premises in Dandenong in March2010

“This innovative foot care program is a wonderful support for people with diabetes at risk of developing foot related conditions,” he said.

“Complications related to diabetes mean people with the disease risk foot complications including ulceration, infection and amputation.

“Foot disease and amputations in particular have a significant impact on the quality of life for people with diabetes.”

He said the treatments offered by Happy Feet include wound and infection management, functional diabetic foot assessments, vascular surgery and rehabilitation of advanced diabetic foot and leg conditions.

“It also provides education and prevention strategies to people at risk of diabetic-related foot conditions,” he said.

“The Happy Feet service demonstrates a unique relationship between Vascular Specialists, Endocrinologists, Infectious Diseases Specialists, Podiatrists, Nurses and Dieticians.” 

Since its launch, the service’s Multidisciplinary High Risk Foot clinic has provided 510 treatments and the Diabetic Foot Unit has provided 579 treatments for 98 patients.

About 275 adults develop diabetes in Australia every day, and within 25 years Australia faces a massive 600 per cent increase in the disease.

Mr Andrews said the recent 2010 State Budget included $10.2 million to provide 11 000 hours of diabetes self-management and an additional 292,000 needles and syringes free to 67 000 Victorians with diabetes.

Mr Andrews said chronic disease prevention programs such as Happy Feet were vital as diabetes was a serious condition that could lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and limb amputation.

“Diabetes is a preventable lifestyle disease, with key risk factors such as being overweight or obese, poor diet and a lack of exercise,” he said.

“This program is an excellent example of how the Brumby Government is committed to reducing the impact of chronic diseases on Victorian families.”

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