Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care - press conference - 22 March 2023

Read the transcript of Assistant Minister Kearney's press conference on the new national Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis Clinics, and regional and rural women's health.

The Hon Ged Kearney MP
Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care

Media event date:
Date published:
Media type:
General public

GED KEARNEY, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND AGED CARE: Good morning, everyone. I'm Ged Kearney, I’m the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care. And I'm really pleased that we're able to be here today to make the announcement of where the Australian Government's 20 Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Clinics will be. There'll be a clinic in every state, territory, right across the country. And this is incredibly important because for so long, women have endured a terrible experience in the health system when it comes to being treated for endometriosis and pelvic pain. We know that too often they've been dismissed, diagnosis has been delayed. It takes, on average, seven years to be diagnosed, some women much longer. And we're really pleased that these clinics right across the country will be an open door for women to know that they can go to these clinics with their issues, they will be believed, they will be appropriately diagnosed, they will get the care that they deserve. And I think that that is a really great advancement for women's health, and for people assigned female at birth. I'm excited to announce that here in Canberra I'm at the Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT clinic, and they have been a successful tenderer for the endometriosis and pelvic pain clinic here in Canberra. I'm here with my colleagues as well who will introduce themselves in a minute. And we have a wonderful person, Erin, here who has lived experience with endometriosis. So I might hand over now to Alicia Payne, the local member.
ALICIA PAYNE MP: Thank you very much, Ged. I'm Alicia Payne, the Member for Canberra. And I'm just thrilled to be here this morning at the Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT for Ged to make this announcement that they will be one of these 20 endometriosis and pelvic pain clinics around the country. And thank you to Tim and the team for welcoming us this morning and all the wonderful work that you do for our community. And I'm so pleased that this announcement will just help you to build on that. And this will make such a difference for women in Canberra, women and young girls, people with stories like Erin's that she's shared this morning of just, you know, battling through debilitating pain and not, you know, not being taken seriously and being dismissed and going through things in our health system that they just shouldn't have to. And that's what this is about. You know, these clinics will enable women to go somewhere where they can be heard, where people will have the training and the knowledge to address the problems that they're facing. And it's so important that we have this here in Canberra. We had a lot of need for primary health care here in Canberra. And we not only serve our city, but a huge part of our region as well with people traveling from all around southern New South Wales to access our services. I also want to acknowledge Gai Brodtmann, the former member for Canberra who did amazing work of raising awareness about endo in Parliament, and the work that she did to really shine a light on that conversation and these women's experiences. And I want to acknowledge all the endo warriors and advocates who have bravely shared their stories, as I say, of things they never should have to have to go through in our health system. I'm really pleased for Ged's leadership in this area in our government and in making this difference today.
KEARNEY: And yes, thanks, Alicia. And thanks for acknowledging all the wonderful women out there who have fought so hard for this to occur. I'd like to now introduce Lisa Chesters. Lisa is the Member for Bendigo, a regional area in Victoria. She's also the Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Endometriosis, an ncredibly important group of people who have kept this issue alive and have helped really drive these outcomes.
LISA CHESTERS MP: Thank you, Assistant Minister and thank you for the opportunity to say a few words about what this means for regional women. One in 9 Australian women are affected with endometriosis. They are the statistics. So one in 9, that's thousands of women in regional Victoria too, struggling with endometriosis and pelvic pain. I am really excited but also relieved that Bendigo has been named as one of the regional cities who will actually receive funding and be one of the first of the 20 clinics in Australia. Bendigo Community Health Service will receive the funding in my electorate. They already have a small offering to support women with pelvic pain, with endometriosis. This funding will just help them build on the good work that they're doing. It means that they'll be able to see more women, more girls they'll be able to expand the support that they already offer and link into the broader Primary Health Network. When we talk about healthcare services, what I really respect and you see reflected in our Government is that we don't forget about regions and we don't forget about regional women. And I'm so excited that Bendigo is on the list of the first 20 in our country in terms of the pelvic pain clinics, so thank you Ged. Thank you for the team here. And thank you to brave women like Erin who share their stories. This is a journey where it didn't happen, we didn't get to this point without women speaking up about their experience, in Parliament, outside Parliament, to the endo warriors, thank you for what you do each and every day to make sure that we can get to the point where we're delivering for all women who might be experiencing endometriosis symptoms or pelvic pain. Now they can get the help when they need it.
KEARNEY: Thanks so much, Lisa. And I’d like to ask Erin to say a few words about her experience with endometriosis. 
ERIN SMITH, ENDOMETRIOSIS PATIENT/ADVOCATE: My name is Erin Smith and when I first presented at my GP 30 years ago, I was prescribed a high dose oral contraceptive pill. That was considered treatment and that was considered management of problem periods. Since then, I’ve spent close to 20 years trying to find out exactly what was wrong with me. And it wasn't until I was in my 30s that I had adequate treatment and realized that I had endometriosis, I was then given appropriate care. In that time it was swings and roundabouts trying to find clinicians who not only recognised and understood what was going on for me, but could then provide adequate care. I'm so excited to speak for the endo warriors. And please understand that my experience is just a snapshot of what thousands of women go through everyday in our country. I'm very pleased and excited that clinicians will now be able to recognize, respond to, manage and treat endometriosis within their communities. I’m also further excited to know that this money and this funding is going to be in regional and remote areas of Australia. Because women's health matters in regional and remote areas of Australia, are matters that we need to address. So this is a wonderful day for Australians and women and girls.
KEARNEY: And finally, I'd like to ask Tim Bavinton to say a few words.
TIM BAVINTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SEXUAL HEALTH AND FAMILY PLANNING ACT: Thank you, the team here at Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT is very privileged to host this announcement nationally. We're very grateful to be one of the first 20 new pelvic pain and endometriosis centres that will be set up. We are looking forward to assisting the primary health care system here in the Canberra region to do better response to need in the community. We know we've got some great clinicians and great services out there. They're over demanded, they're overwhelmed, and we're really looking forward to assisting everybody to step with confidence into this area of complex healthcare. Thank you.
KEARNEY: Okay, so thanks very much, everybody. Thanks to the clinic for having us today. And congratulations on your successful tender and we'll finish the press conference there.

Related ministers:

Help us improve

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.