RACP calls for increased access to bariatric surgeries

Tuesday, 12 September, 2023

RACP calls for increased access to bariatric surgeries

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is urging the government to increase access to bariatric surgeries to help reduce rates of diabetes and obesity, noting that the waiting time for the surgery can be years, yet highly expensive through the private system.

The RACP has made a submission to the Federal Inquiry into Diabetes noting these concerns, recognising that although there are methods to assist prevention of type 2 diabetes and obesity, there are also treatments for patients already affected that cannot afford it.

“Prevention measures are very important, but attention should also be given to improving access to treatments for people who are living with obesity — these include things like bariatric surgery and effective medicines,” said RACP President Jacqueline Small. “The federal government should also increase the PBS subsidies for obesity and diabetes medicines to ensure that treatment for these often linked conditions isn’t limited by individual affordability.”

The submission calls the government to:

  • Increase funding for bariatric surgeries to support weight management in priority populations with barriers to treatment access and prevent further chronic disease.
  • Subsidise pathways to effective pharmacotherapies so that access is on equitable population health grounds, not individual affordability.
  • Implement early involvement of physicians in team-based care for patients at risk of hospitalisation through use of innovative care pathways.
  • Introduce comprehensive national regulations to restrict marketing of unhealthy diets to children.
  • Fully fund the effective implementation of the National Preventive Health Strategy.
  • Mandate the Health Star Rating System (HSR) for all packaged foods to encourage consumers to choose healthier options and motivate food manufacturers to reformulate and develop healthier products.
  • Implement a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks.

“We need a new model of care for treating patients with obesity, and this includes a balance of prevention measures and accessible, effective treatments. These treatments should be better subsidised by the government so that people who could greatly benefit from them aren’t left out in the cold.”

The RACP’s submission into the Inquiry into Diabetes can be found here.

Image credit: iStock.com/mi-viri

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