Women and girls living with endometriosis in Bonner will soon have access to improved diagnosis, care and treatment, with the Morrison Government announcing new specialised endometriosis and pelvic pain clinics in every state and territory.
Through the 2022-23 Budget, a record $58 million will be provided under the National Action Plan for Endometriosis to improve endometriosis diagnosis and primary care support, helping more women to find appropriate care and better manage the impact of endometriosis.
Endometriosis has a profound impact on around one in nine Australian women and girls. It is a highly individualised condition, with symptoms ranging significantly from person to person, but commonly impacting on family and social life, work and study.
Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said this significant investment will build on the work the Morrison Government has done to provide treatment and support for women and girls with endo across Australia.
“The Coalition Government was the first government to acknowledge and recognise endometriosis and the impacts it has on women and girls across Australia,” Mr Vasta said.
“Around 800,000 women and girls are currently living with endo, including across Bonner and this funding will bring welcome relief and support through better diagnosis, treatment and care.
“Our government’s plan will improve the quality of life for women living with endometriosis, with record support, building on our National Action Plan for Endometriosis, so women of all ages can get diagnosed and be supported.”
The Morrison Government will also help couples plan for their pregnancy by investing $81.2 million to create a new Medicare item to support access to genetic testing for three serious genetic conditions.
Genetic testing can assist families who are planning for their pregnancy and may be at risk of passing on significant genetic conditions, to understand and assess their risk and to plan their pregnancy appropriately.
The new Medicare item builds on advances to date through Mackenzie’s Mission and will support universal Medicare funded testing to check if couples are carriers of cystic fibrosis (CF), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and fragile X syndrome (FXS), with the item available in 2023.
CF, SMA and FXS are the most common inheritable genetic disorders resulting in substantially reduced life expectancy within the Australian population.
This testing is presently available in Australia as a privately funded service and this measure will provide a Medicare rebate for genetic testing for CF, SMA and FXS.
Endometriosis initiatives include:
- $16.4 million to establish new specialised endometriosis and pelvic pain clinics in each state and territory incorporating doctors, allied health professionals and nurses to assist in navigating the health system
- $25.2 million to support women with severe endometriosis and other conditions that affect fertility to access a new Medicare funded magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
- $5.1 million to develop an Endometriosis Management Plan to support patients in primary care.
- $5.1 million towards the National Endometriosis Clinical and Scientific Trials Network and for early career researcher scholarships to continue growing research capacity and address research gaps.
- $2.5 million to transform and promote the Australian Clinical Practice Guideline for the Diagnosis and Management of Endometriosis into a “living guideline” that will be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect community feedback and the latest expert medical advice.
- $2 million to increase awareness and education of endometriosis amongst priority populations through the Australian Coalition for Endometriosis, a Mentor Program to support those newly diagnosed with endometriosis and a Workplace Assistance Program to support employees and employers to navigate discussions in the workplace.
- $1.4 million for the EndoZone digital platform, providing access to evidence-based information.
- $300,000 to promote access to the suite of Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme items for diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said increasing access to genetic testing would be a welcome relief for many parents and couples planning pregnancy.
“This will allow thousands of Australians to undergo genetic testing without huge out of pocket costs and enable them to see if they are genetic carriers of disorders like CF, SMA and FXS,” Minister Hunt said.
“As a passionate advocate for genetic testing, I am proud that the Morrison Government is making this significant investment, which will not only help Australians and their families, but ensure they know and understand the risks of inheritable genetic disorders.”
The Morrison Government’s National Women’s Health Strategy 2020–2030 has five priority areas; maternal, sexual and reproductive health, healthy ageing, chronic conditions and preventive health, mental health, and the health impacts of violence against women and girls – core issues affecting the lives and livelihoods of women and girls.
This significant investment builds on our government’s commitment to implementing the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020–2030 and improving long term health outcomes for women and girls.