Largest ever NSW investment into care for children with juvenile arthritis


The 2024-25 NSW Budget will invest $6.9 million over four years to boost statewide paediatric rheumatology services, the largest ever investment in NSW history.

This investment will fund an additional six senior clinicians to deliver improved access to highly specialised care and ongoing monitoring for children with juvenile arthritis in NSW.

This includes two paediatric rheumatologists, a highly specialised allied health team for a statewide service and a paediatric rheumatology advanced trainee position.

Juvenile arthritis is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, estimated to affect up to 10,000 children under the age of 16 in Australia, or one to two children per thousand.

It is a serious and painful autoimmune disease with the potential to cause joint deformities and loss of vision if not diagnosed early and treated effectively. Children with juvenile arthiritis require assessment, treatment and regular review and monitoring which is best provided by a multidisciplinary peadiatric rheumatology team.

The expansion of the multidisciplinary paediatric rheumatology team will help provide faster access to the highly specialised and comprehensive care that children with juvenile arthritis need and support them with acute episodes of the disease. This can include:

  • Early diagnosis and treatment which may prevent permanent joint and eye damage
  • Prescription of medications that reduce joint and eye inflammation and damage
  • Therapy to prevent joint and eye damage, reduce and/or prevent pain, and optimise mobility
  • Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, pain management, and psychological adjustment, and self-care education.

The investment will support the expansion of the existing Sydney Children’s Hospital Network team. Recruitment to the new roles is expected to commence in the coming months.

The Minns Labor Government’s second Budget will prioritise building better communities – ensuring that families have access to the medical care and support services they need.

This investment delivers on the Government’s plan to rebuild the essential services the people of NSW rely on.

Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park

“Juvenile arthritis can be debilitating for people who are living with it, and this investment means more children will be able to access the specialist care they need through the statewide paediatric rheumatology service.

“Eighty per cent of children with juvenile arthritis experience pain on a daily basis, which can directly negatively impact their education and participation in physical activities.

“This is a critical investment, the earlier we can diagnose and treat juvenile arthritis the better the outcome for the patients, and reduced risk of permanent disability.”

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