1751. Hon Alison Xamon to the parliamentary secretary representing the Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Mental Health:
I refer to question on notice No 1604, in which the Minister for Health advised the department was awaiting the outcomes of the July Debilitating Symptom Complexes Attributed to Ticks Patient Forum before considering a Western Australian based approach to Lyme-Like illness, and I ask:
(a) given the report has now been released what concrete actions have been taken by Western Australia Health towards advancing the outcomes contained in this report;
(b) in particular:
(i) what is the Government doing to raise awareness in the community and amongst general practitioners about Lyme-like illness; and
(ii) does the Government intend to put in place education programs to prevent people acquiring tick borne infections; and
(c) has the Minister given further consideration to a state-wide specialist support service?
Hon Alanna Clohesy replied:
I am advised that:
(a) The report of the DSCATT (debilitating symptom complexes attributed to ticks) Patient Group Forum held in Sydney on 27 July 2018 was released on 9 October 2018. The Forum’s outcomes were that:
“The multidisciplinary approaches presented at the forum needs further exploration and to be collaboratively developed but should be pursued.
Ministerial support will be sought to convene a ‘think tank’ which will include other disease like groups (e.g. (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome ME/CFS), biotoxins) to develop and co-design the way forward.
Further research is required however treatment pathways cannot wait until the research is completed and needs continued focus.
Education and awareness is the highest priority with a strong focus on prevention, children, community awareness and GP knowledge and acceptance.”
The Department of Health (DOH) continues to be committed to a nationally coordinated and consistent approach regarding debilitating symptom complexes attributed to ticks (DSCATT) and will work through the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) to progress the Forum outcomes.
On 16 November 2019, the Commonwealth Department of Health published a request for tender for development of an evidence-based clinical pathway for patients with DSCATT, https://www.tenders.gov.au/?event=public.advancedsearch.keyword&keyword=...
(i) The DOH supports that information provided in the Australian Government’s recently released position statements on Lyme disease in Australia and Debilitating Symptom Complexes Attributed to Ticks (published on the national Lyme disease webpage http://www.health.gov.au/lyme-disease) and recommends the use of these position statements by general practitioners and other health professionals. Members of the public and health practitioners who request information from DOH about Lyme disease or DSCATT are referred to the national Lyme disease webpage http://www.health.gov.au/lyme-disease to raise their awareness of national developments around this issue.
(ii) No. The Department of Health does not intend to put in place education programs to prevent people acquiring tick borne infections but will encourage a national approach based on Australian Government resources.
(c) The Minister for Health will give further consideration to a state-wide specialist support service after the outcomes of the ‘think tank’ described in (a) have been made available.