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ICGP announces partnership with Vhi for diabetes patients

The ICGP, in association with Ireland’s biggest health insurer Vhi, has announced a structured care programme for diabetes patients in selected GP practices in Ireland. The College said this programme “fully aligns” with national policy on chronic disease management (CDM) and the extension of community-based care models.

As part of the programme, Vhi customers in selected areas with type 2 diabetes, or who are at risk of diabetes, will attend for regular check-ups to monitor their condition and help reduce complications. Structured care programmes for patients with diabetes have proven effective in helping diabetic patients to better manage their condition, with the onset of complications prevented or delayed due to the close relationship between the patient and their GP practice team.

“Giving patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes a structured care programme enables them to better manage their condition, reduce complications, and stay well,” said Dr Velma Harkins, ICGP Chair of Quality, Safety and Standards. “It is also very cost-effective. We welcome this involvement by Vhi in chronic disease management in general practice; we believe there are considerable benefits for patients.”

Speaking at the launch of the Diabetes Structured Care Programme, Dr Bernadette Carr, Medical Director, Vhi, said: “Vhi is pleased to support this programme. It is our first step into the area of chronic disease management and the focus of this programme will be on the management of diabetes in a primary care setting for Vhi customers who may have type 2 diabetes. Our long-term vision is to create a sustainable model for the management of chronic disease in general practice, looking after our members locally, in their local communities.”

She added: “Primary care is now seen as the better place to manage chronic disease because of the strong personal relationships many patients have with their GPs as well as the fact that they are accessible and convenient. We are delighted to be working collaboratively with participating GPs to deliver this programme for the benefit of Vhi customers. We believe the learnings from this pilot can be rolled out to other communities in due course.

“The biggest opportunity to control the rate of growth in healthcare costs in the future is to develop more cost-effective models of care to deal with an ageing demographic and the increasing prevalence of chronic disease.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris commented: “I welcome the recent collaboration between the ICGP and  Vhi in the development of the programme we are launching here today.  Structured primary care-based CDM programmes are the internationally-recognised effective and evidence-based approach to the management of patients with these conditions.  These programmes will also enable and empower patients to better manage their own chronic conditions through self-care management.” 

“It is proven that prevention, early identification and self-care management will result in better patient outcomes, more cost-effective care and reduced service demand, particularly reduced demand on acute hospital inpatient and outpatient services.” 

“I am confident that this type of partnership will help support the Sláintecare vision of the delivery of community-based care that is provided at the right time, in the right place.”

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