New clinics are opening to help improve access to timely diagnosis and care for women with endometriosis and pelvic pain.
More women will have access to expert, multidisciplinary care with the opening of two new endometriosis and pelvic pain clinics in Adelaide and western Sydney.
The opening brings the number of clinics across Australia to 22, and they are now available in every state and territory in metropolitan and regional locations.
Endometriosis can have a devastating and lasting impact on quality of life and fertility, and affects at least one in nine Australian women. Access to timely diagnosis is a major barrier, with patients waiting an average of seven years before diagnosis.
New research shows that one in two Australian women experience pelvic pain and yet half of those women do not discuss their symptoms with a doctor despite the significant impacts that pain has on their lives.
Pelvic pain is estimated to cost the Australian economy almost $10 billion a year.
Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney officially opened the Adelaide clinic on Sunday at the Thrive Family Practice in Glenelg.
“We want women to know that they can seek support and care at these clinics, that they will be believed and there are treatment options available to them,” Ms Kearney said.
“These clinics are about providing women with an accessible front door to the care that they need. Gathering expertise under one roof, fostering that knowledge to improve diagnosis and services, having referral pathways in place – these are all crucial elements to getting the support that women need right.”
An additional clinic in Greater Western Sydney, Rouse Hill Town Medical and Dental Centre, has also been chosen to operate as a clinic.
Clinics are funded to hire specialised staff such as nurse practitioners and allied health professionals, pelvic physiotherapy services or resources and training.
As well as directly helping patients, the clinics will raise awareness of endometriosis and pelvic pain, build professional knowledge and skills in this area, and improve access to information and care pathways. Patients can access the clinics by booking an appointment directly.
These clinics are supported by the National Action Plan for Endometriosis, which provides a blueprint to increase research and improve diagnosis, treatment and understanding of the condition.
Federal Member for Boothby, Louise Miller-Frost, welcomed the clinic as a “much-needed health service in South Australia”.
“Endometriosis can be debilitating and clinics such as these provide easier access for patients to get an early diagnosis which is essential,” Ms Miller-Frost said.
“Access to specialised services helps to address the inequities that exist in women’s health, and I welcome one of Australia’s first Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Clinics opening here in my community.”