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Nurses the key to caring for arthritis - 17 October 2017

Rheumatology nurses could be the answer to improving care for hundreds of thousands of Australians with inflammatory arthritis.

Around 1.7 million Australians suffer with chronic, inflammatory forms of arthritis, yet there is a severe shortage of the specialist nurses who are trained to help care for these patients.

The report Rheumatology nurses: Adding value to arthritis care looks at the evidence supporting the benefits of rheumatology nursing and assesses access to rheumatology nursing care in Australia. The report commissioned by Arthritis Australia, found that there was just one full-time rheumatology nurse for every 45,000 people living with painful and disabling conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, gout and juvenile arthritis.

“An increase in rheumatology nurses would mean quicker diagnoses, better psychosocial support for patients, improved quality of care, better patient outcomes and reduced health system costs,” Ms Cahill said. “Importantly, this research confirms that people who see a rheumatology nurse as part of their care are much more satisfied with all aspects of their care than those who do not.”

“Adding rheumatology nursing to the traditional care model which uses only a rheumatologist would mean quicker access to specialist care and an earlier start to treatment. Our report shows this would in turn mean an increase in the number of patients going into remission and a decrease in the average cost of care per patient,” said Ms Cahill.

“For these reasons, we call on the Federal, State and Territory governments to provide dedicated funding to train and employ more rheumatology nurses,” finished Ms Cahill.


  Media release: Nurses the key to caring for arthritis

  Report - Rheumatology Nurses: Adding Value To Arthritis Care


Supplementary materials

  Literature review: Rheumatology nurses

  Stakeholder survey and interviews: Rheumatology nurses

  Cost benefit analysis – Rheumatology nurses



Reviewed and updated October 2017

Arthritis - Count the Costs and Bank the Savings - 30 May 2016

A major new report shows the growing multi-billion dollar costs of arthritis to the economy, individuals and to the healthcare system and how relatively small investments could yield savings of more than $170 million a year.

Media release click here to download

Key findings of the report include:

  • There are 3.9 million Australians with arthritis and this will grow to 5.4 million by 2030.
  • Arthritis currently costs the health system $5.5 billion and this will grow to $7.6 billion by 2030 unless more is done to prevent and better manage the condition.
  • Providing better care for people with arthritis can save the health system over $170m a year by reducing demand for joint replacements
  • Arthritis is a major cause of disability and early retirement due to ill-health. This costs the government $1.1 billion in extra welfare payments and lost taxation revenue and costs the economy $7.2 billion in lost GDP alone.

Counting the cost: the current and future burden of arthritis to download the report click the below links: 

Executive Summary

Counting the Cost: Part 1 Healthcare costs

Counting the Cost: Part 2 Economic costs

Speak Up 4 Arthrtis 
From now until the Federal election on 2 July, Arthritis Australia is running the #SpeakUp4Arthritis campaign to lobby Federal Parliamentarians for better programs to support people with arthritis.

Tell your local Member of Parliament (MP) and the Minister for Health how arthritis affects you and your family, and demand programs to give you better care and support. To find out more click here.




Uploaded May 2016


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