Endometriosis funding a ‘drop in the ocean’

4 minute read

It's high time for investment and recognition of this condition, but how much will this really change?

Endometriosis and pelvic pain clinics will be established across the country, but the Labor government initiative has been criticised as severely underfunded and leaving rural women no better off.

Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney announced yesterday that the 20 clinics would be set up in established GP practices over the next year, with each clinic receiving around $175,000 each per year for four years, for extra training, facilities and equipment.

Despite Ms Kearney saying the clinics would be “in rural and regional areas as well”, the announced list of clinics – with the exception of the four in Victoria – barely leave the coastline, or the big cities.

In NSW, for example, five clinics will be set up – one in PM Anthony Albanese’s electorate of Leichhardt in Sydney; in Hunters Hill on Sydney’s North Shore; in Mittagong, just 20km west of Wollongong; in Milton on the south coast; and in Coffs Harbour, on the central coast.

In Queensland, the four clinics will be in Morayfield and Bardon in Brisbane, Benowa on the Gold Coast and in Cairns, on the far north Queensland coast.

Rural and regional Victorians do the best out of the scheme, with clinics in Bendigo in central Victoria and Warrnambool on the south coast 100km west of Melbourne, and two others in Geelong and north-east Melbourne.

WA gets two clinics – in Perth, and Albany – while South Australia, the NT, the ACT and Tasmania all get one each.

“The clinics that we’re announcing today, they’re multidisciplinary services,” said Ms Kearney this morning.

“They will specialise in endometriosis and pelvic pain more broadly so that women will have a front door, they’ll have a place where they go where they know they’ll be believed.

“They’ll know that they’ll get treated properly. They know they’ll get a diagnosis in a timely manner. And we really think that this will be game changing for women and people assigned female at birth.”

RACGP president Dr Nicole Higgins, a member of the National Women’s Health Advisory Council chaired by Ms Kearney, also welcomed the investment in “an aspect of women’s health that has been overlooked for too long by our political leaders” – but she said the funding wouldn’t come close to meeting demand.

“It is good to see that these clinics will be established as part of general practices – this recognises the critical role of general practice at the centre of care,” she told TMR. “Government funding will also go to develop guidelines and development of management plans, which will also help support the critical role of GPs.

“But, after decades of underfunding of general practice care, this is really just a drop in the ocean. Much more is needed to ensure patients across Australia can get the care and support they need.”

Endometriosis Australia CEO Maree Davenport welcomed the announcement.

“I was delighted to attend the announcement in November with the ‘Minister for Endometriosis’ of 16 clinics, and we are thrilled to see the investment of federal funds have now extended to 20 locations,” she said. 

“Symptoms are variable and this may contribute to the 6.5-year delay in diagnosis. These specialist clinics will help to quickly identify girls, women and gender diverse with #morethanjust heavy periods, debilitating pain, fatigue and life-defining impacts on intimate relationships and work productivity.”

Ms Davenport declined to comment on the level of funding committed.

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×