Hon Greg Hunt MP announces $2 million towards implementation of IBD National Action Plan 2019

Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA) has welcomed this weekend’s announcement from Hon. Greg Hunt MP that the Commonwealth Government will invest $2 million in the implementation of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) National Action Plan.

IBD, the collective term for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a chronic and largely hidden disease affecting approximately 1 in 250 people – that’s more than the number of people who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis or HIV. There is no cure and Australia has one of the highest rates of prevalence and incidence of IBD in the world, and each year more and more young people are being diagnosed.

CCA worked in collaboration with the Department of Health and key stakeholders in IBD, including people living with Crohn’s and colitis, to identify the key priority actions to improve equitable access to high quality health care for people living with IBD in Australia. These priorities formed the basis for the National Action Plan, which sets out strategies to address these issues.

The IBD National Action Plan will improve the quality of life of the 100,000 Australians expected to be living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) by 2022.

In announcing the $2 million funding, which will be delivered over four years, Health Minister Greg Hunt said that many people have suffered in silence for far too long, enduring diagnostic delays and experiencing poor clinical care, due to a low level of understanding.

“Firstly, it’s about acknowledging your pain, acknowledging the inconvenience and in many cases the emotional as well as the physical suffering. But secondly, it is an ‘action’ plan. It’s built around pillars of education, awareness, diagnosis, research and treatment,” Minister Hunt said.

The government will devote half of the funds to education and support for patients and families, with $700,000 going toward educating GPs on symptoms and diagnosis and $300,000 to supporting children and young people with Crohn’s and colitis.

CCA CEO, Associate Professor Leanne Raven welcomed the funding, thanking the Minister of Health for launching this very important plan, which she says is a step forward in realising the vision of improved quality of life for people living with Crohn’s and colitis.

“I’d particularly like to pick up on the Minister’s words that the plan is “building a community of support”.

“For too long people with Crohn’s and Colitis have been isolated, or struggled in silence, avoiding the unwarranted stigma of bowel disease. We must take this opportunity to flush the stigma,” she added.

CCA is delighted to take the lead in advancing education and support for patients and families through provision of in-depth information on treatment options and patient pathways. The organisation looks forward to collaborating with hospitals, clinics and other medical professionals, alongside the state and territory governments responsible for hospitals, as well as welcoming additional funding to achieve better IBD education for GPs and improve support for children and young people.

For media enquiries, contact Leanne Raven on 1800138029 or info@crohnsandcolitis.com.au

Download the Inflammatory Bowel Disease National Action Plan 2019 and view the supporting documentation here.