More than one million Australian have diabetes with an estimated 500,000 new diabetics diagnosed each year. The Australasian Podiatry Council (APodC) commissioned a study to discover diabetes rates within Australian federal state electorates and identified a dirty dozen .
• 7.5%: Gilmore (NSW), Grey (SA)
• 7%: Hinkler (Qld)
• 6.9%: Wakefield (SA)
• 6.6%: McMillan(VIC)
• 6.5%: Lingiari (NT), Farrer (NSW)
• 6.4%: Gippsland (VIC), Lalor (VIC), Paterson (NSW)
• 6.3%: Canning (WA), Parkes (NSW)
Topping the charts of federal parliament constituencies with the highest incidence are the South Australian seat of Grey and Gilmore in New South Wales. Each has 7.5%. Hinkler has a diabetes rate of 7% which is almost two points higher than the national of 5.2% . The seat takes in Hervey Bay and Bundaberg was recently named Australia's "fat capital". Prime Minister Julia Gillard's seat of Lalor in Victoria has a rate of 6.4%.
The organisation has called for more Medicare-funded visits to podiatrists for people with diabetes. The Sock It To Diabetes campaign organised by the Council intends to target the 12 federal state seats to highlight the high incidence of the disease and the risk of amputation the carries. Australia's podiatrists say it leads to 4300 amputations annually, which represents a 30% jump in the past decade. Lifting the current ceiling from five visits to 12 would cost $85 million which would not only significantly reduce amputation levels but generate more than $300 million in health sector savings. Hinkler MP Paul Neville agrees the problem needs to be "confronted", adding a range of measures could be considered to address an increasing demographic, including pilot programs in the 12 electorates or means-tested government funding. He plans to raise the issue with Opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton. In attempting to rationalise the figures Mr Neville, who is retiring at the next election, said the seats on the list appeared to fall into two categories: coastal/lifestyle areas with a high elderly population, or inland areas where access to medical help was not as great.