Joint Injections: An injection of Sense Needed – updated

People with severe arthritis are outraged by the government’s continuing refusal to fund procedures that provide them with essential pain relief and mobility.

Medicare rebates for joint injections and aspirations were cut by the government in November 2009.   Many people have told us that since the rebates were removed, they have difficulty paying for joint injections and in some cases are going without because of the increased costs.

Arthritis Australia has conducted surveys of people with arthritis and of rheumatologists and also commissioned an independent economic analysis to determine the extent to which this is occurring.

These studies have confirmed that up to 100,000 people each year are experiencing unnecessary pain and suffering because they have to delay or miss out on joint injections and aspirations due to the cost, following the removal of the Medicare rebates.

Read more about the studies

This is completely unacceptable!

We have launched a campaign to restore Medicare rebates for joint injections to make these procedures more affordable for people who need them.

Media Release: An Injection of Sense Needed

Join our campaign

Send a letter or email outlining how this issue affects you to:

Click here to download a sample letter/email

  • The Minister for Health, the Hon Tanya Plibersek

    • The Hon Tanya Plibersek
      Minister for Health
      150 Broadway
      BROADWAY NSW 2007
      Tel : (02) 9379 0700, Fax : (02) 9379 0701
      E-mail: [email protected]
  • The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon Mark Butler (responsible for arthritis issues)
    • The Hon Mark Butle
      Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
      15 Semaphore Road SEMAPHORE SA 5019
      (PO Box 2038, PORT ADELAIDE SA 5015)
      Tel : (08) 8242 0733, Fax : (08) 8242 0744
      E-mail: [email protected]
  • Your local Member of Parliament and Senators

To find out who your local member is, click here and enter your suburb or postcode, then click on the electorate name.

If you want to do more, you can also ask to meet with your local member or Senator to tell them about how this issue affects you.

For assistance, contact Franca Marine – ph: (02) 9518 4441 or [email protected]

Personal stories

Helen’s story – Oxley, NSW

Over the past few years my health and body movement declined rapidly. I was told by my GP go get fit, lose weight and keep active to keep my arthritis under control. However last August 2011 I could hardly walk and I was shallow breathing, and could not walk straight up, I was hunched over. I asked to see a specialist which took 6 weeks waiting time in which my pain was getting worse. He took one look at my cat scan and he said it was the worst case he had seen. My left side was completely fused and my right side was not far behind. He gave me two options. Have the left side done in November 2011 and come back March 2012 for the right side or have both my hips replaced in the one operation. I elected to go for the second option. Last month I had ligaments in my left knee mended as a result of bad hips. I now have severe Arthritis in this knee. Sometime down the track I will need further medical assistance. My specialist said at 56 I have a lot of living to do and I should not be made disabled and medical treatment was my only option. I think that the Government needs to rethink their policies, and how they manage arthritis sufferers.

Julie’s story – Burleigh Heads, Queensland

I am 49 years old and require 2 new knees and a spinal operation all due to arthritis. Last year I had an anterior replacement on my right hip which even with private insurance left me out of pocket for about $16,000. I need injections regularly but can’t afford them and have also cancelled my private insurance as a single mum with 2 teenage daughters. I also live in pain every day.

Lillian’s story – The Gap, Queensland

I have just had a back operation (7 1/2 hours). My knee is painful all the time. I am a pensioner and have just paid $16,000 even with my Private Health Cover as well as Medicare. I cannot afford any more for injections. I am 85 years old.

Judith’s story – Sydney

“Personally I need injections for arthritis in my toe which is extremely painful without. I also have stopped because of the cost each time I receive an injection. Without these injections I can barely walk by the end of the week as the pain is excruciating. I am also a single income family.”

Suzi’s story – Perth, WA

During my pregnancies (2 in the past 5 years) the only treatment for my severe chronic rheumatoid arthritis was cortisone injections. During my second pregnancy, I had many injections into my joints. Without these injections I would not have been able to roll over in bed, walk, care for my first child (toddler) or function AT ALL. Without my rheumatologist subsidising these injections it would have been crippling financially to my family – which is already a single income family due to my rheumatoid arthritis.

Reviewed and updated January 2013
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