Increased Prevalence of Diabetes Triggers New Inquiry

The broader impacts of all forms of diabetes on Australia’s health system and economy, recent increases in cases and advances in the prevention and management of this significant health condition, will be the focus of a new inquiry by the House Health Committee.

The Deputy Chair of the Committee, Mrs Melissa McIntosh MP spoke of her family’s experience with diabetes: “Not long after we started the Long COVID Inquiry, my very athletic and healthy 19-year-old son Byron was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It is well known that certain viruses can trigger Type 1, which is an autoimmune disease, and the only known virus that Byron had before diagnosis was COVID. 

“When Byron was diagnosed in October 2022 there was very little data on whether it was plausible that COVID caused it, but reports were surfacing globally that there had been a surge in Type 1 Diabetes amongst children and adolescents. 

“During the previous House Health Committee inquiry into Long COVID and repeat COVID infections, the evidence clearly showed a correlation between COVID and Type 1 Diabetes.

“Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and Type 2 Diabetes is often linked to obesity. They are very different conditions, but it is very important that we know more as diabetes is one of the fastest growing chronic health conditions in Australia which currently impacts 1.3 million Australians. 

“Along with Type 1 and Type 2, there are multiple other forms of diabetes, including gestational and rare types, making it important that we highlight this chronic and complex health condition that affects a wide and diverse range of people in Australia.

“The Committee’s primary focus in conducting this inquiry will be the effectiveness of current Australian Government policies and programs which aim to prevent, diagnose, and manage the condition. 

“The Committee looks forward to hearing from individuals with diabetes, healthcare service providers, researchers, peak bodies, the Australian Government, state and territory governments and members of the public. 

“We want renewed research and dialogue to understand how Australia’s healthcare industry can utilise new evidence-based advances in the prevention and management of the condition and examine the broader impacts of diabetes on the nation’s health system and economy,” stated Mrs McIntosh.

Interested individuals and organisations are invited to send submissions by 31 August 2023. Submissions can be lodged online using a My Parliament account.

Additional information regarding the Committee’s inquiry are available at the Committee’s website, including the complete terms of reference and instructions on how to lodge a submission. 

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