What we’re doing about other chronic conditions
Other chronic conditions affect Australians’ quality of life. These include chronic pain, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and more. Find out what we’re doing to address these conditions.
What are other chronic conditions?
Some chronic conditions do not fit into larger condition groups such as respiratory, musculoskeletal or cardiovascular conditions.
Examples of other chronic conditions we are addressing include:
- chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis)
- chronic pain
- inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
- post-polio syndrome
- sleep disorders
- effects of thalidomide
Information on chronic conditions is available at healthdirect.
What are we doing about other chronic conditions?
Several programs, initiatives and activities support treatment and management of these conditions.
- The Medicare Benefits Schedule helps pay for patient care, including Chronic Disease Management plans.
- The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme helps pay for medicines.
- The Medical Research Future Fund and the National Health and Medical Research Council fund medical research into these conditions.
See below for a list of specific activities related to these conditions.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
We have provided:
- $3 million for research to better understand the causes and improve diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
- $155,000 for a health economics study of the impacts and costs associated with ME/CFS
- $1.03 million to Emerge Australia to assist their ongoing work to:
- raise awareness of ME/CFS
- provide information about the condition
- support affected Australians
We are developing a National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management.
We have provided:
- funding for Painaustralia to create the National Pain Services Directory
- $1 million for Painaustralia to support public awareness and education for people affected by pain
- $1 million to help train GPs to allow them to participate more effectively in pain management care
- $500,000 for a public education campaign specifically focused on the management of pain and the use of opioids
- $4.3 million to deliver outreach pain management specialist services in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia
- $20 million to trial Pain MedsCheck, a program to support people taking medication for chronic pain
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
We developed the National Strategic Action Plan for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
We have allocated $2 million to support early implementation activity for the Action Plan, including:
- $1 million to support Crohn’s & Colitis Australia in developing information and awareness material and resources on IBD
- $700,000 to support the development of awareness and training for health professionals to assist their management of IBD patients
- $300,000 for a repeat audit of IBD care for children. This will measure change and inform future improvement of these services
Our polio vaccination program led to the World Health Organization (WHO) certifying Australia as polio-free in 2000.
However, around 400,000 Australians suffer from the effects of post-polio syndrome. We provided $450,000 to Polio Australia for clinical practice workshops to improve our health system’s response for these patients. In June 2019 we committed $470,000 to continue this program for another 3 years. It will help train clinicians to recognise and manage patients with the syndrome.
We support people with sleep problems through:
- Medicare Benefits Schedule services
- medications subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
The Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport considered other issues regarding poor or inadequate sleep in its Inquiry into Sleep Health Awareness in Australia. We are working on our response to the Inquiry.
We funded Haemochromatosis Australia to:
- develop a public health promotion campaign targeting young adults at risk of hereditary haemochromatosis. It encourages action to prevent the damage excess iron levels can do over their lifetime
- provide information and support for health professional to work together with patients with haemochromatosis in rural, regional and remote Australia
We are working on our response to the Senate inquiry about support for Australia’s thalidomide survivors.
See more chronic conditions resources.