We Need Your Help to SpeakUp4Arthritis

A central role of Arthritis & Osteoporosis Tasmania is to ensure people with arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions have a strong voice within the health system and community at large.

To get our message heard in the lead-up to the 2021 Tasmanian Election Campaign we need your help!

Tell your local State Election candidate how arthritis affects you and your family. Telling your story in your own words is a powerful way to help them understand the personal impact of arthritis and why better programs and services are needed.

Want to Take Action? It’s easy – here’s what you can do

  • Like, Comment and Share the SpeakUp4Arthritis posts on our social media page – facebook.com/ArthritisTasmania
  • Post a message on your local MPs’ social media page (and share the post with your family and friends)
  • Ring your local MP’s office
  • Send your local candidate an email or letter
  • Organise a meeting with your local Member of Parliament, especially if they are visiting your area
  • Need more help, ring Arthritis & Osteoporosis Tasmania on (03) 6228 4824.
The more phone calls, letters and emails they receive, the more likely they will be to take action, so share this site with your family and friends and ask for their support too.

Why Speak Up?

Arthritis is one of the most common, costly and disabling chronic conditions in Australia. It affects people of all ages including children, causing pain, stiffness, impaired physical function and reduced quality of life.

  • In Tasmania in 2015 an estimated 119,000 people were reported to be living with arthritis [1] and this is expected to increase by 20.5% by 2030.
  • An estimated 44% of Tasmanian adults have three or more long term chronic health conditions. [2]
  • 1,595 knee and 1,521 hip replacements were performed in Tasmania in 2016
  • The healthcare costs* associated with arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions in Tasmania are expected to increase from $162.4 million in 2015, to $197.7 million by 2030 – an increase of $35 million. [3]

* The healthcare costs comprised hospital expenses, out-of-hospital medical expenses, and the costs of pharmaceuticals.

The prevalence and impact of these conditions on people’s lives, and the health system, has been ignored for too long.

It is essential that the needs of people with arthritis are taken seriously by politicians.

It is time for the government to take action, and we need your help!

Tell your local State Election candidate how arthritis affects you and your family.

For more information on the current and future burden of arthritis, download Counting the Cost, a report prepared by Arthritis Australia.

Our Priorities for Tasmania

Arthritis & Osteoporosis Tasmania conducted extensive membership and stakeholder surveys in 2020 as part of its strategic planning processes. Gathering feedback on issues that are important to people with arthritis has led to the development of an election priorities statement 2021 with the following priorities central to providing better care for people with arthritis in Tasmania a

Tasmanians with arthritis deserve better. The time has come to act.

The next elected Tasmanian Government must immediately act to improve the level of arthritis prevention, treatment and care for Tasmanians living with arthritis. Arthritis & Osteoporosis Tasmania is calling for a commitment to support:

  • Development of a strategic, cohesive and appropriately resourced musculoskeletal model of care for Tasmania as an immediate priority. Central to this model will be the establishment of a State-wide Musculoskeletal Triaging and Assessment Service (MTAS) – a single point of entry for rheumatology referrals, assessment and treatment pathways.
  • Establishment of an appropriately resourced multi-disciplinary specialist rheumatology and persistent pain service (1FTE rheumatologist, with allied health service support) based in Launceston to improve access and health outcomes for those living in the north and north west regions of Tasmania.
  • Additional resourcing of Arthritis & Osteoporosis Tasmania to extend its evidence-based community education and self-management programs to the north and north west regions.

The rationale for action is evidence-based, comprehensive and widely supported by key stakeholders (clinical services, allied health, GPs and the community sector) as evidenced by their commitment to the development of a Musculoskeletal Services Business Case[i] led by the MSK Clinical Advisory Group as part of the One State, One Health System, Better Outcomes[ii] reform. A thorough and well researched document which I believe has never been properly considered by the Tasmanian Health Service.

A musculoskeletal model of care for Tasmania is vital and will provide a pathway to improved arthritis prevention, early diagnosis and effective management. A single entry point for all musculoskeletal services (rheumatology, persistent pain, orthopaedic and neurosurgery specialist services) will address current fragmentation and improve patient equity, access, flow, safety and outcomes.

There are currently NO public rheumatology specialist services available to Tasmanians living in the north or north-west. Services are currently centralised in Hobart and provided through RHH outpatient clinics (which are unable to cope with demand nor are funded to deliver state-wide services). Early diagnosis and access to specialty services is critical to avoid or limit irreversible joint damage, deformity and disability.

Arthritis & Osteoporosis Tasmania’s current funding level provides for outreach services only to north, north west and regional communities, equating to a meagre two weeks per year (0.8FTE Community Educator). A modest amount of additional funding would provide an additional 0.8FTE position, dedicated to deliver and coordinate services to these rural and regional communities.

These initiatives do not call for significant additional funding – in fact, an investment of $4.1 million was detailed in the draft MSK Business Case for a 3 year staged implementation of the MSK Model of Care. This investment would be offset by savings achieved through reduction in elective surgery waiting lists (due to less inappropriate referrals for surgery and better triage and management of people before surgery) as well as efficiencies through less duplication/triplication in administration and diagnostic testing.

 

To download Arthritis & Osteoporosis Tasmania’s Election Priorities Statement 2021, click here


[1] Arthritis Australia, 2016. Counting the Cost: Part 1 Healthcare Costs.
[2] Department of Health & Human Services Tasmania: Health Indicators Tasmania 2013.
[3] Arthritis Australia, 2016. Counting the Cost: Part 1 Healthcare Costs.