The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health has announced funding of AU$150,000 for Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) to develop a Strategic National Action Plan to better support patients with macular disease. The funding is in addition to $1.28 million the MDFA receives through the Health Peak and Advisory Bodies Fund to help reduce the incidence and impact of the disease in Australia.
The National Action Plan will seek to develop a strategic direction around the management, prevention and treatment of macular disease that in the future may be incorporated into government policies and budgets. MDFA, as the national peak body, will lead the development of the action plan, and will provide a blue print for key priorities and actions to reduce the incidence and impact of macular disease.
Dee Hopkins, CEO of Macular Disease Foundation Australia sees this as a great step forward in addressing this chronic disease, “Minister Hunt has shown great foresight in acknowledging the growing incidence of macular disease and the impact it is having as a chronic disease in Australia.
“As our population ages and becomes more at risk of age-related macular degeneration, and with a rising prevalence of diabetic eye disease in working aged Australians, the incidence and impact of macular disease will only increase and put additional strain on our healthcare system. The National Strategic Action Plan will help us prepare, prioritise and invest wisely to support the macular disease community,” said Ms. Hopkins.
Minister Hunt has shown great foresight in acknowledging the growing incidence of macular disease and the impact it is having as a chronic disease in Australia
“For macular disease to be elevated in importance in this way is certainly affirming that the voice of the macular disease community has been heard by the government. With an estimated 1.7 million Australians showing some evidence of macular disease, the timing is right for the development of a National Strategic Action Plan”.
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT HIGHLIGHTED
In a statement, Mr. Hunt said the Turnbull Government is committed to addressing vision loss and blindness in our communities with Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidies for several medications used to treat AMD. “Since 2013 the Turnbull Government has spent $1.67 billion on medication for age-related macular disease through the PBS… In 2016-17 alone the Government paid over $118 million in Medicare benefits for more than 400,000 eye injections for aged-related macular degeneration.”