Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (20:10): (1827) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Health, and the action I seek relates to endometriosis. March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, so it is a great time to amplify the push for adequate care for women suffering from this under-recognised disease that undermines the wellbeing of so many. By the age of 44 one in nine Australian women have been diagnosed with this condition. Many cases start as teenagers. It can be debilitating. It puts life on hold around or during a woman’s period. There are a range of painful pelvic symptoms, which partially explains why it takes 6½ years on average to be diagnosed. No-one should have to endure being in pain for such a ridiculously long time.
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease. It most commonly strikes the reproductive organs, but it is also frequently found in the bowel and in the bladder, and it can happen in muscles, joints, the lungs and the brain. I would like to do a quick shout-out to the Hudson institute, who are setting up an incredible information research centre which I hope this government will look at funding.
There are 35 000 endometriosis-related hospitalisations each year in Australia. So it is not just hurting women, it is a huge economic burden on the entire community. The Australian government estimates the disease costs close to $10 billion a year. Two-thirds of that is in lost productivity, the rest is in health care.
Endo is as common as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. It is more common than breast and prostate cancer, diabetes and HIV and AIDS combined. Our current health system lacks proper care pathways and evidence-based approaches to the delivery of care. There are so many stories of patients being poorly managed and the severity of their disease not being understood. In fact a UK study that was recently done with 13 000 women found that nearly 50 per cent of them had suicidal thoughts because of their endometriosis. So the action I seek is that the government develops and implements a specific endometriosis policy and strategy.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Adjournment matter 22/3/22