Media releases

December 19, 2016

OSTEOARTHRITIS A BONE OF CONTENTION FOR TOO MANY AUSTRALIANS

With more Australians suffering from osteoarthritis and a significant increase in hip and knee replacements in the last six years, Medibank has launched the Medibank Better Health Foundation to increase research funding for osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal conditions.

Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone, and a disorder that affects 1.9 million Australians[1].  It is one of the leading causes of chronic pain, disability and lost productivity in Australia, costing the health system $3.75 billion and the economy around $22 billion annually[2].

In the last six years, Medibank has seen a 30 per cent increase in knee replacements, a 22 per cent increase in hip replacements, and a 28 per cent increase in rotator cuff surgery.

The new Medibank Better Health Foundation is supporting research into osteoarthritis because nearly two million Australians have a condition causing chronic pain and surveys show many GPs feel they are unable to provide adequate care[3].

Medibank Chief Medical Officer Dr Linda Swan said osteoarthritis is expected to affect three million Australians by 2032[4].

“The new focus on supporting research into osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal conditions will help to ease the personal and economic impact of the disorder,” Dr Swan said.

“Medibank funds more than 35,000 surgical procedures related to musculoskeletal conditions each year, with a significant increase in hip and knee replacements and rotator cuff surgeries.

“The Medibank Better Health Foundation aims to be a catalyst for positive change – investing in research insights to promote healthy behaviours, inform policy and improve clinical practice.

“If we can assist researchers in promoting and implementing better management tools and treatments for osteoarthritis, we can substantially improve the outlook for the one in 12 Australians[5] who suffer from the condition.”

With the new focus on musculoskeletal conditions, the Medibank Better Health Foundation has partnered with field leaders on projects at the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Monash University, and University of New South Wales, among others.

Since 2013, Medibank has funded 27 research projects totalling nearly $4 million to support Australian researchers in their quest to improve the health and wellbeing of our community. Visit the new Foundation at www.medibank.com.au/healthfoundation

 

 

 

 

[1] Arthritis Australia, A Time to Move: Osteoarthritis, March 2014

[2] Arthritis Australia, A Time to Move: Osteoarthritis, March 2014

[3] Arthritis Australia: Whose Problem Is It Anyway? The Voice of GPs on Arthritis, March 2012

[4] Arthritis Australia, A Time to Move: Osteoarthritis, March 2014

[5] Arthritis Australia, A Time to Move: Osteoarthritis, March 2014

 

Media enquiries:

Bronwyn Perry on 0438 545 090 / bronwyn.perry@medibank.com.au


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