Page 3986 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

People with autoimmune disorders have access to expert specialist services through the Department of Immunology at Canberra Health Services, including the Centre for Personalised Immunology Clinic. Two clinics are run per week for patients with MS and neuroimmunological disorders. The service is supported by a part-time MS specialist nurse. CHS cares for close to 400 people with MS and related conditions through this clinic. There is also support in the community for these patients provided by MS Australia. The neurology department also provides care for people with autoimmune neuromuscular conditions, such as myasthenia gravis and immune-mediated neuropathies, through general outpatient and inpatient services. Canberrans with autoimmune disease have access to state-of-the-art diagnostics through the ACT government funding of Canberra Clinical Genomics, and through our strong research partnerships we will continue to contribute to the improvement in care and treatments across the gamut of autoimmune disorders.

Earlier this year I released Better together: A strategic plan for research in the ACT health system 2022-2030, which set the government’s vision for a vibrant, learning health system where research drives optimal health and wellbeing. This strategic plan will build on the incredible work that is already delivered every day across our public health system and higher education partners, driving improved care and systems. This work includes studies in endocrinology, including the world-leading Our Health in Our Hands diabetes research at the ANU and Canberra Health Services, led by Professor Chris Nolan. It also includes research into personalised medicine, including various autoimmune diseases, by clinicians in the departments of immunology, rheumatology and renal medicine at Canberra Health Services. This research, along with presentations about research into other autoimmune disorders like arthritis, was recently highlighted at the Canberra Health Annual Research Meeting, or CHARM.

However, while we are continuing to improve the clinical practice pathways and support, we recognise that, for many, awareness is a challenge and there is always more to do. It is sometimes difficult to identify the best approach. Ms Orr’s motion recognises this and sets the government a task. Currently, the ACT government does not specifically target awareness-raising efforts for autoimmune disorders in general. However, we do support ACT-based organisations, such as Arthritis ACT and Diabetes NSW & ACT, that raise awareness of specific autoimmune disorders which are the most common. The government also supports Carers ACT to support carers for people living with autoimmune disorders. Carer support services are also offered by other non-government organisations dedicated to specific autoimmune conditions, such as the MS society.

Members may be aware that the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, or ASCIA, is the peak professional body for clinical immunology allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand. ASCIA’s website contains a number of education and training resources geared towards patients, carers and medical professionals that would be applicable to residents in the ACT. I would encourage all members to look at some of the resources on ASCIA’s website when talking with constituents about these issues.

Finally, as has been discussed by Dr Paterson and Minister Davidson, and as I mentioned earlier, autoimmune diseases disproportionately impact women. That is

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video