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New Paediatric Diabetes Service

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New Paediatric Diabetes Service

Children diagnosed with diabetes will soon be able to access care closer to home with the launch of a new Paediatric Diabetes Service at Western Health. 

Joan Kirner Women's and Children's (JKWC) at Sunshine Hospital will provide inpatient and outpatient care to eligible patients with a new diagnosis of type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. 

Currently most children and young people presenting to Western Health with a new diabetes diagnosis are transferred to other paediatric tertiary hospitals for their care. 

The new Paediatric Diabetes Service at Western Health, which will be rolled out in a phased approach in 2024, will allow more patients to receive specialist care and education closer to home. 

The Western Health catchment has a fast-growing population of young people.

It also has higher levels of disadvantage than other parts of Victoria, which is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases.

People living in Melbourne's west have a relatively high diabetes rate with about 500 individuals living with  type 1 diabetes in the catchment. 

"Western Health's paediatric service is the largest care provider for infants, children and adolescents across the wider Western region," said Dr Alison Pearce, Head of Unit of the Paediatric Service. 

"It's fantastic that we will now provide specialist diabetes care to more children and adolescents in Melbourne's west closer to home." 

The service will be rolled out in stages throughout 2024 to a range of eligible patients, beginning in March.

Some patients will continue to receive care at other health services, depending on their age, condition and care requirements.

The new service will deliver patients with care and education from a range of specialists, including: paediatric endocrinologists, general paediatricians, clinical nurse consultants- diabetes, paediatric nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and social workers. 

Patients and their families will continue to receive ongoing support as outpatients in the new JKWC Paediatric Diabetes Multidisciplinary Clinic.

The new service will make it easier for families to receive care closer to home, and will also provide life-time care for this chronic condition all within the one health service as they transition to adult services in the future. 

Western Health currently has a Young Adults Diabetes Service (YADS) that provides care to people aged 15- 25 and this will enable families who have more than one child diagnosed with diabetes to receive their care in the one convenient location.

"One of the key components of this new service was the appointment of a clinical nurse consultant – diabetes who specialises in paediatric care to support the skilled team of diabetes educators already working at Western Health," Dr Pearce said.

"They will provide newly diagnosed patients and their families with education tailored to their needs, which is a crucial step in helping them manage their condition."