Reforming the health system to improve sexual and reproductive care

Media event date:
31 May 2024

Date published:
31 May 2024

Media type:
Media release

General public

The Albanese Labor Government is investing more than $160 million in a tailored women’s health package to tackle gender bias in the health system, upskill medical professionals and improve sexual and reproductive care.
The 2024-25 Budget delivers:

 $5.2 million for scholarships and to cover travel costs so that healthcare professionals – including doctors, nurses and midwives – can do training in the insertion and removal of Long Acting Reversible Contraception.
$1.1 million to develop an online contraception decision-making tool for women and health practitioners.
$5.5 million to fund the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to develop a national sexual and reproductive health dataset. It will identify changing women’s health care needs across all stages of their lives, explore equity in care, and identify groups needing additional support.
The temporary MBS telehealth items for blood borne viruses and sexual and reproductive health will be made permanent, which will improve access to care, particularly for women in regional and remote communities.
As a part of the Continuous Medicare review, the Albanese Government will undertake a gender audit of the MBS looking specifically at items for LARC insertion and removal and gender-based differences in MBS items for diagnostic imaging.
Nurse practitioners will be able to refer women for ultrasound services under Medicare to assist in the requirements of the MS-2 Step medical abortion program.
Funding of $5.6 million will be delivered to the Health in My Language program to enable culturally and linguistically communities to break down barriers to receive sexual and reproductive healthcare.
A $1.2 million investment will mean women going through menopause will get better treatment as more healthcare professionals can access training on menopause.

These measures align with the aims of the National Women’s Health Strategy, the work of the Women’s Health Advisory Council, and deliver on many recommendations from the Senate inquiry into universal access to reproductive healthcare.
They also support the Government’s Gender Equality Strategy released earlier this year by the Minister for Women Katy Gallagher.
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care
Ged Kearney MP:
“We have an ambitious reform agenda when it comes to women’s health.”
“There are many ways that gender bias creeps throughout our health care system. From lack of access to sexual and reproductive health care, to disparities in costs faced by women.”
“Women deserve to have choice when it comes to their bodies. They deserve to have access to their preferred contraception. And they deserve a health system that understands their needs.”
“We want to see more women to have a better understanding for contraception as well as better access to long-acting reversible contraception. This investment will provide much needed training for doctors, nurses and midwives.”
“I thank all the women who have shared their stories with me about having pain dismissed or not getting the care they need. This is an important start in tackling gender bias in the health system.”

Author: ibm1

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