National listing of Arthritis to give more focus for national action
More innovative ways of managing arthritis and practical actions to improve outcomes for people with arthritis are the key aims of listing arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions as the seventh National Health Priority Area.
11 October 2002
National listing of Arthritis to give more focus for national actionMore innovative ways of managing arthritis and practical actions to improve outcomes for people with arthritis are the key aims of listing arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions as the seventh National Health Priority Area.
The Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, said there would be a clear national focus on this condition because its impact on people is large.
She announced today - International Arthritis Day - that arthritis and musculoskelal conditions had become a new national health priority area. The listing had the backing of all Australian Health Ministers.
Senator Patterson said: "Estimates of the burden of these conditions by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, show that the costs of arthritis and osteoporosis could be around $800 million.
"We want to ensure that this crippling disease gets greater recognition and we can work on better ways of preventing or delaying its onset and find effective ways of intervening to reduce disability and improve quality of life for sufferers."
Senator Patterson referred to the high impact on quality of life that results from arthritis.
"Arthritis can lead to disability because of restricted mobility from severe joint pain. In fact by age 65, one in seven women and one in ten men have a disability due to arthritis. I'm sure most of us have a friend or relative who has a disability related to arthritis."
Senator Patterson said the listing of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions as a new national health priority would give the condition the recognition and priority it deserved.
"All governments, health professionals, consumer organisations and other key groups will now be working together in a variety of ways to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians with arthritis. This is good news for International Arthritis Day," she said.
"The Federal Government has recognised the impact on individuals and the community of this disabling condition and we allocated $11.5 million over four years in the 2002-2003 Federal Budget for improved care for people with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions."
John Hewson, President of Arthritis Australia, today welcomed the Federal Minister for Health's announcement.
International Arthritis Day is recognised on 11 October around the world as an opportunity to celebrate achievements made in arthritis prevention, care and treatment, and to raise awareness of what we can all do to prevent and manage arthritis.
From Hobart to Darwin, Pitt Street to Perth, people with arthritis are being encouraged to and learn how to manage this painful and crippling condition better, which is estimated to affect more than three million Australians.
A national workshop in Canberra recently, involving key stakeholders, mapped current activities and programs and identified some priorities that need to be actioned for the new national health priority area.
"Some key messages from the workshop were that useful and accessible information is important for consumers, carers and health care professionals, and that there is a diversity of consumer needs and wants at different stages of the disease," Senator Patterson said.
Senator Patterson said she expected the listing as a National Priority would help to improve collaboration between patient organisations, health professionals and policy makers. This will ensure best practice, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment and management strategies.
"I hope that our new focus on arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions will lead to greater national effort to identify gaps in our knowledge of this condition, and make real improvements" she said.
Media contact: Marnie Gaffney, Senator Patterson's office, 03 9657 9577