Arthritis gets welcome support

Arthritis Australia has welcomed Minister for Health Greg Hunt’s announcement of $4 million in funding towards the implementation of the National Strategic Action Plan for Arthritis.

Led by Arthritis Australia, in partnership with key consumer and medical groups, the Action Plan outlines key priorities for preventing arthritis, investing in research and improving treatment and support for people living with the condition.

“Arthritis is a condition that can affect four million Australians,” Mr Hunt said. “It can range from inconvenient and painful to agonising and utterly debilitating. In my own family we’ve seen it, but with four million Australians, virtually every family has seen or witnessed the effects of arthritis.

“Arthritis Australia has done a great job. They helped see and drive this plan into being. As part of that, we’re backing our National Strategic Action Plan for Arthritis with $4 million.”

Mr Hunt said half of the amount will be for information and education, of which $1 million will go directly to the work of Arthritis Australia in informing patients and the families about their choices, their options and the range of treatments available. The remaining $2 million will go towards better diagnosis and treatments of patients.

Arthritis Australia CEO Andrew Mills described the move as a step forward in realising the vision of improved quality of life for people living with Arthritis.

“This funding is an important first step towards ensuring people with arthritis get the right treatment, care and support they need to live well with their condition,” he said. “Too many people with arthritis are not coping well because they don’t receive the care and support they need through the health system.

“There’s a lot of work to be done and currently there’s no cure for arthritis. Therefore, we also look forward to further commitments and bipartisan support to implement all the recommendations in the action plan, including improved health services and greater investment in research.

“Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions account for 12 per cent of the disease burden in Australia, yet they don’t receive the priority they deserve in health policy and programs while funding towards research has declined in real terms by a third over the past five years.”

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