The Liberal National’s Government will help people in Flinders living with an eating disorder get access to life-saving treatment with a $115 million landmark package.
Federal Member for Flinders, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, spoke of the many stories he had heard from survivors and families alike about how eating disorders took too many too young, including those of local resident Fiona Ryan, who lost her own daughter after a five year battle with anorexia.
Ms Ryan was the lead speaker at the funding announcement, with her deeply personal story drawing praise from all those in the room, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“It takes great courage to speak up on these issues and I want to personally commend Fiona Ryan for her tireless campaigning for this vital issue,” Mr Hunt said. “She has seen firsthand the trauma that eating disorders can have on an individual and their family.”
“Her story is tragically the story of far too many parents and families, who have watched loved ones fall victim to these conditions.”
“She has and continues to be a champion for those suffering from eating disorders and she has taken a family tragedy and turned it into an immense instrument for change, for the better.”
Mr Hunt welcomed the announcement and said for the first time; those Australians with severe eating disorders will now be able to access a comprehensive treatment plan under Medicare.
“Patients across the Mornington Peninsula, Western Port and Bass Coast will be able to access up to 40 Medicare funded psychological services and 20 dietetic sessions each year, from November 1, next year,” Mr Hunt said.
“Eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness, with anorexia by far the deadliest mental health condition in Australia. There are around 1 million Australians living with an eating disorder.”
“Those suffering from these disorders will benefit from increased psychological services and dietetic sessions, to ensure they have all the tools necessary to improve their lives.”
Mr Hunt said the $110.7 million investment into the first dedicated Medicare item for eating disorders will benefit around 30,000 people each year living with these debilitating disorders, helping them to get better and stay out of hospital.
“This will undoubtedly save many lives as eating disorders can be debilitating for both men and women of any age and this illness is one of the many nightmares parents have for their children,” Minister Hunt said.
“It’s budgeted, it’s funded, it’s committed and it will be in place no matter who’s in government.”
“It is only right that we recognise these debilitating conditions within our Medicare system.”
“We have worked closely with medical experts and key stakeholder for many months to achieve this outcome, and we thank the independent Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce for their work, following our request for a review last year.”
“Our Government will also provide $4 million to the InsideOut Institute for Eating Disorders.”
“This funding will support new research into better treatment and care for people living with an eating disorder condition,” Minister Hunt said.
Our Government is prioritising better mental health for all Australians with $4.7 billion expected to be spent on mental health this financial year.
This is also why we are so committed to keeping our economy strong. Because without a strong economy, and getting our budget back into balance – we can’t make these important decisions. This is why a strong economy matters.
The Liberal National’s Government’s strong economic management ensures the continued to investment of record amounts of funding into vital health initiatives including mental health, life-saving medicines, Medicare and public hospitals.