Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care - speech - 20 February 2024

Read Assistant Minister Kearney's doorstop on a new specialised endometriosis and pelvic pain GP clinic in Bardon

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

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GED KEARNEY, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND AGED CARE: Well, good morning, everybody. It's an absolute delight to be here at Neighbourhood Medical in Bardon to officially open an endometriosis and pelvic pain clinic. This clinic here in Bardon is one of 22 clinics right around the country that has expertise in treating and helping women who suffer with endometriosis or pelvic pain. This is incredibly important initiative from the Albanese Labor Government, and I'm incredibly proud to be here in Queensland to open one of four clinics in this great state. And I am, of course, here with the amazing Minister for Health, Shannon Fentiman, with the doctors and nurses from the clinic, with our PHN who assisted us in establishing the clinic, and with some wonderful people, Eleni and Sarah, who actually do have endometriosis and have lived experience.
 
Endometriosis is a crippling, painful condition. It affects, well, we know one in nine women, possibly as many as one in seven women right around Australia. And yet it takes, on average, nine years for a woman to be diagnosed with this condition. Why does it take so long? Well, women tell us that they are simply not believed. When they present with symptoms of pelvic pain, they are accused of all sorts of things like doctor hopping, drug shopping. They're told that it's just a woman's lot to have pain and to put up with it. Well, we know that that is simply not the case. And it's wonderful to have doctors like Dr McDonnell here, who have speciality in this area and who can provide a safe place like Neighbourhood Medical where women can come, where they will be heard, where they will be believed, and where they can actually get treatment for what is a terrible condition.
 
Congratulations to Neighbourhood Medical, to everyone involved in establishing this, and thanks very much for having us today. I'll ask the Minister if she would like to say a few words.
 
SHANNON FENTIMAN, MINISTER FOR HEALTH, MENTAL HEALTH AND AMBULANCE SERVICES AND MINISTER FOR WOMEN: Thank you so much, Ged. I'm absolutely delighted to be here at the official opening for Queensland's fourth clinic for endometriosis and pelvic pain. And as Ged has said, we know just how debilitating endometriosis and pelvic pain can be for so many women. And what we've heard from Queensland women and girls is that so often their pain is dismissed and minimised and they are not believed. And when it takes so long to receive a diagnosis it can just be incredibly frustrating and painful. So having specialist clinics, a one-stop shop for diagnosis, for treatment, but also that continuing education and awareness, is just so important to women's health and wellbeing.
 
We know through our recent Women and Girls' Health survey, where we received over 10,000 responses, that endometriosis and pelvic pain is such an issue for Queensland women and girls. And so many of them want to see more education and more awareness about the condition and how they can manage their pain in consultation with experts. And that's what these clinics are all about.
 
Next month is Endometriosis Awareness Month and, as the Health Minister and Minister for Women, I'm looking forward to more announcements about how we can support women experiencing endometriosis. But I really want to thank the Federal Government, and in particular the Assistant Minister, Ged Kearney, for their huge investment in specialist clinics like this one.
 
Congratulations to the hard working doctors and nurses and their wonderful patients who are speaking out about this issue. We need to talk more about this issue so that more women know they can come forward and get help.
 
DR SARAH MCDONNELL: Hi. I'm Dr Sarah McDonnell. I'm one of the GP clinical leads at the endometriosis and pelvic pain clinic here at Neighbourhood Medical. We're really, really grateful for the time and resources that the federal grant funding has given us to share with women and those assigned female at birth who suffer from endometriosis or pelvic pain. And we hope to use these resources in collaboration with our other healthcare providers and patients and GPs to reduce the impact of endometriosis and pelvic pain on people's everyday lives and make their overall burden of disease less. Thank you.
 
KEARNEY: Thank you. Sarah, would you like to speak?
 
SARAH (PATIENT): Hi, I'm Sarah. I have suffered with endometriosis for, I know, for 15 years. I'm really grateful to the clinic, to the doctors and the nurses for setting up a plan that works for me based on what I need and also what I want and my wishes. So, thank you very much for that. Thank you.
 
ELENI (PATIENT): I'm Eleni, and thank you for coming here. I be in this clinic about six months, I think, now, and I'm really grateful for what the clinic has been provided to women who has endometriosis. It’s really helpful and hopefully the government can help a little bit and give more for helping women who have endometriosis. Thank you to the clinic, and thank you to Dr Sarah who is very knowledgeable to help these women who needs help with endometriosis. Thank you.
 
KEARNEY: All right. Well, thanks very much.

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