DFA Guides You Through: The estimated workforce to ensure evidence-based care for people with diabetes-related foot disease in Australia

So far in our “Guides You Through” series, we’ve discussed the estimates behind the current burden of DFD, and the forecasted savings if evidence-based DFD care was implemented across Australia.  Now third in the series, we’re “Guiding You Through” the estimated workforce required to ensure evidence-based DFD care is available for all people with diabetes-related foot disease in Australia. 

While it’s always challenging to estimate workforce requirements, as there can be many variables and assumptions to weigh up, we tried to remain conservative with our estimates in our Australian diabetes-related foot disease strategy 2018-2022 and suggested Australia needs the following full-time equivalent workforce to best care for people with, or at-risk of, DFD:

  • 260 Health professionals for foot screening services
  • 250 Health professionals for prevention services
  • 540 Interdisciplinary foot disease services for ambulatory treatment services
  • 50 Interdisciplinary foot disease services for inpatient treatment services

That’s a total of 510 health professionals and 590 interdisciplinary foot disease full time equivalent services just to meet the recommended care outlined in (inter)national DFD guidelines for all Australians that need DFD-related care. We know what you are now probably thinking, “wow that’s a lot, how on earth did they come up with that and how can anyone afford that?” Well, before we guide you through these estimates we want you to consider three very important points.

  1. These estimates are calculated using the best available estimates on numbers of Australians affected by DFD married with the (inter)national guideline recommendations to best manage people with DFD.
  2. These estimates do not take into account DFD services already provided in Australia.
  3. The large Australian cost-effectiveness analysis study discussed in the last “DFA Guides You Through” factored in the upfront investment required to fill any gap in shortfall of evidence-based workforce needed and still concluded “that investing in evidence-based care will still save Australia $2.7billion over 5 years”.

Now you are considering these workforce estimates in conjunction with these three very important points; sit back and relax as it’s time for another “DFA Guides You Through”.