In light of National Diabetes Week next week 12–18 July, we caught up with NTGPE Medical Educator and GP supervisor, Dr Justin Coleman who is also the immediate past Editor of the Diabetes Management Journal, Australia's leading journal for GPs who manage diabetes, to discuss the vital role GPs play in prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes.
“It often takes younger doctors a while to realise that managing a person with type 2 diabetes is quintessentially a 'GP' issue, rather than requiring referrals 'up the chain' to specialists or hospitals. If anything, referrals should spread outwards to the team-Aboriginal Health Practitioners, nurses, dietitians, podiatrists with the GP at the hub of the wheel,” Dr Coleman said.
“Type 2 diabetes is not a condition shrouded in mystery or secret endocrine knowledge. Saving lives and preventing complications depends far less on the fanciest hypoglycaemic drug class than the application of classic GP skills learned while managing all sorts of chronic disease.”
“Those skills include the ability to walk with the individual over time, repeatedly working through ways to encourage a healthier lifestyle, paying attention to cardiovascular risk factors and looking out for early complications”, Dr Coleman explained.
“Do those basic things well, and over the years you will save more lives and prevent more suffering than you will ever be able to tally. Managing diabetes is a chance for GPs to shine.”