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Butler announces changes to endometriosis support

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Endometriosis treatment changes will be added from July 2025, under an announcement from Health Minister Mark Butler.
Endometriosis treatment changes

People with endometriosis will have access to higher rebates and longer consults with doctors under changes to Medicare.

The measures are aimed at expanding access to GP and specialist care.

About 1 in 7 Australians with uteruses have endometriosis — a disease where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can cause severe pelvic pain, which can stop some from working, studying or playing sport.

Endometriosis treatment changes

From July 2025, two new items will be added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule, a list of health services subsidised by the Federal Government.

Under the changes, people with endometriosis will have access to Medicare-subsidised 45-minute appointments with specialist doctors. This includes initial and follow-up consultations.

The Government said the $49.1 million announcement “will provide approximately 430,000 more services to help women across the country with complex gynaecological conditions.”

Medicare costs

Medicare will subsidise “longer initial gynaecologist consultation” at a higher rate — $168.60 for a minimum of 45 minutes, compared to the standard rate of $95.60, from July next year.

Medicare will also provide a higher subsidy for longer follow-up appointments — $84.35 for a minimum of 45 minutes, compared to the standard rate of $48.05.

Subsidies for longer 60-minute GP appointments will also be rolled out. The measure is aimed at providing doctors “additional time to examine patient’s histories and symptoms.”

Health Minister Mark Butler said Australian women were “suffering unnecessarily”, and that the expanding subsidies would help “get women the care they need”.

“They’re having their experiences dismissed, being called hysterical and accused of drug shopping.

“Women’s pain is real and it’s time we stop telling women to just suck it up.”

Response to endometriosis treatment changes

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) called the announcement a “good step in the right direction.”

It said current measures “don’t allow for sufficient appointment time for practitioners to appropriately consult with patients presenting with persistent pelvic pain.”

“The new numbers will allow more time to better deal with the complex nature of these presentations,” according to RANZCOG.

Opposition

Shadow Health Minister Anne Ruston said the Federal Opposition was “pleased” with the announcement to expand endometriosis treatment.

“We know that this work is absolutely critical to ensuring that women across the country can access support that is tailored to their needs and understands their endometriosis journey.”

Ruston said it would be important for the results of the expanded care to be transparent, to ensure the measures are creating better outcomes for Australian women.

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