Weight Loss Surgery for Type 2 Diabetes to Be Funded by Qld Govt.

This week the Qld Government announced a $5 million initiative to fund weight loss surgery for up to 300 Queenslanders who have uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and other obesity related health complications. This is a significant public move which will help many. What it also does, is help remove the stigma of weight loss surgery, by highlighting its life-changing potential for type 2 diabetes sufferers and a whole range of obesity related health complications. We explain the initiative in more detail and also explain how weight loss surgery can potentially help those struggling with type 2 diabetes live a longer and healthier life.

What is The Initiative?

Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said yesterday the initiative will be open to Queenslanders aged 18-65 who are currently receiving public hospital specialist treatment for a condition that may be reversed or improved by bariatric surgery. These were his comments in a release to the media yesterday:

“The medical evidence suggests that in this group it is possible in many cases to switch off the type 2 diabetes and transform the health of the patient,” Mr Dick said.

Importantly, surgery will only be offered as a last resort if lifestyle intervention is unsuccessful.

AMA Queensland President Dr Bill Boyd said he was pleased to see that Queensland Health had taken steps to make bariatric surgery more accessible for the morbidly obese.

Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute agrees.

“It [the initiative] brings hope to people facing drastic consequences, among them many for whom life itself hangs in the balance,” she said.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where a person is unable to manage their blood glucose levels with insulin (known as insulin resistance). This causes the pancreas to over-respond by producing more insulin to compensate. Over time the insulin-producing cells dissipate. This means diabetes is a progressive condition which becomes harder and harder to manage.
In type 2 diabetes, the condition is partly genetic and partly lifestyle induced. Being overweight is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
According to Diabetes Australia, 1.7 million Australians already have diabetes, and an estimated 2 million Australians are at high risk of developing it and are already showing early signs of the condition.

“Type 2 diabetes is one of the major consequences of the obesity epidemic. The combination of massive changes to diet and the food supply, combined with massive changes to physical activity with more sedentary work and less activity, means most populations are seeing more type 2 diabetes.”

What is the Health Threat to Uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes is a progressive condition, and sufferers may not notice they have the disease right away. Often by the time they are diagnosed, significant damage is done. According to Diabetes Australia, diabetes:

  • Is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults
  • Is a leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis
  • Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to four times
  • Is a major cause of limb amputations
  • Affects mental health as well as physical health. Depression, anxiety and distress occur in more than 30% of all people with diabetes
  • Affects mental health as well as physical health. Depression, anxiety and distress occur in more than 30% of all people with diabetes

Why is the Government Funding Weight Loss Surgery For Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes treatment is estimated to have a cost impact of $14.6 billion nationally.

The Queensland Government initiative follows many years of study on the efficacy of weight loss surgery in reducing and in many cases reversing type 2 diabetes and other diseases in obese patients.

In some patients, this metabolic surgery has been shown to improve blood sugar levels so significantly, that diabetes has gone into remission.

The growing evidence of the efficacy of weight loss surgery in treating type 2 diabetes was recognised in a joint statement by international diabetes organisations last year as part of a Diabetes Surgery Summit.

The Summit statement concluded that surgery should be part of interventions for type 2 diabetes, and recommended that health care regulators introduce appropriate policy. This conclusion was formally endorsed by 45 medical and scientific societies across the world.

Our Thoughts

Here at Weight Loss Solutions Sunshine Coast, we applaud this decision. We hope it helps to highlight that obesity is a significant and serious health issue. We know patients struggle with the stigma of choosing weight loss surgery. Some are concerned they will be seen as ‘vain’ or ‘lazy’ for their choice. This is far from the case. Obesity is a complex metabolic disease process which is affecting more and more Queenslanders. Focussing on both prevention and treatment is required to tackle this health issue.

There is no ‘one’ treatment of obesity and treatment must be tailored to each individual. This Queensland Government decision recognises and endorses the role of weight loss surgery as metabolic surgery in the setting of obesity and diabetes. At Weight Loss Solutions Sunshine Coast we implement a holistic approach to weight loss and our surgeons are supported by dietitians, phycologists and exercise physiologists.


Curious About Weight Loss Surgery?

If you would like to know a bit more about the process of weight loss surgery, head to our website for more information.