THE future is uncertain for the promised diabetes outreach clinic in Griffith.
Despite assurances earlier this year from Murrumbidgee Local Health District that the vital service would continue, Griffith Branch of Australian Diabetes Council president Tom Marriott said he had lost all confidence.
A clinic was held on April 11 this year, but before that Professor Dennis Yue had been bringing a team from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital here for 20 years until he retired in November 2013.
“The clinic on April 11 was for one day only and comprised only five specialists, treating 20 people, compared with the usual two days, up to 10 specialists, treating 50 patients,” Mr Marriott said.
“I was disappointed, to say the least. I really feel that it was just a token clinic.
“The team led by Professor Stephen Twigg are all hardworking, good people and they intimated to me that they were pressured into putting the clinic together.”
Mr Marriott said lack of communication meant he was becoming more and more frustrated.
“There seems to be reluctance on the part of Murrumbidgee Local Health management to engage in any dialogue regarding these clinics,” he said.
“They relay messages through Griffith staff. I wrote to them on April 16 to attempt to start negations or at least find out where we stand.
“We receive donations from Griffith, Leeton, Narrandera, Darlington Point, Hay and places in between mainly because we bring these clinics to Griffith.
“In fact, four ladies who call themselves The Happy Wanderers from Hay just held an event and raised $1487 for us. I need to know what I’m supposed to tell these hardworking people.”
Thanks to donations from locals Mr Marriott said the support group had the funds to go forward with the clinics.
“I just want some sort of reassurance that the clinics will continue in the short-term,” he said.
“Even if they are not, we’d like to know either way. I just need answers for the people of Griffith. I want them to stop stone walling.
“With these clinics they only have to save somebody getting kidney disease and going on dialysis or multiple amputations to save big so I find it difficult to believe this is about money. We can continue to provide necessary air fares, accomodation and related expenses.”
MLHD director of operations Jill Ludford said they were “working productively” with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital to provide specialists diabetes clinics for the Griffith region.
“More details will be provided to the community as they become available,” she said.
The clinic examines a myriad of pathology results taken prior, they test eyes, examine feet, review diet and collate information for the team, who consult with the patient and offer advice before sending a report to their GP. The clinics enable locals not to have to travel to keep their diabetes under control.