BENDIGO is on the verge of a health crisis as rates of preventable diseases skyrocket, according to N8 Health director Dr Andrew Cameron.
Dr Cameron said central Victoria had some of the highest rates of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
He said health practitioners were “watching it like a slow train crash” that could be partly addressed by a new aquatic centre at Kangaroo Flat.
“I know another doctor who is being overrun with kids aged 12 and 13 and she never used to see those people,” Dr Cameron said.
“They’re all totally preventable and it’s all brand new.
“I’m referring people with diabetes off to a podiatrist for feet amputations.
“We’re only helping people who are suffering but we’re trying to prevent the problems.
“It’s better to build a fence at the top of the cliff rather than a hospital down the bottom.”
Dr Cameron said the new pool would include a health clinic for doctors to refer patients.
“We’ll have specific practitioners with specialised equipment like a hydrotherapy pool, rehabilitation equipment and specialist gym equipment,” he said.
“There are no facilities like this at the moment.
“Bendigo Health has some but they’re under the pump, and again they’re only helping people who are well into the process.
“The current focus of treating at the end stage is like putting a band-aid on a shotgun wound.
“We need to stop kids from heading down this road.”
Neilborough resident Graham Long, 64, said he was diagnosed with diabetes in 1994 and had undergone amputations and had constant treatment in recent years.
“Anything that can prevent people going through what I’ve gone through is great,” Mr Long he said.
“My life since 57 or 58 changed dramatically.
“They’re either chopping a toe off or waiting for one to heal.
“I wonder how many people either don’t know they’ve got diabetes or don’t really comprehend what’s going to happen over a period of 10 or 15 years if they don’t do something about it.
“We need to have facilities and people to make sure this current group of people growing up with obesity are informed and given facilities to ward off these dangers.”