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The CEO Report | September 2023

Hello to all our supporters and readers of the Emerge Australia newsletter,

It’s great to have you with us and to be able to share with you so much that has been happening over the past 6 weeks.

As you all know our team has worked tirelessly to take account of the very helpful feedback we have received regarding our website and new logo. We appreciate your feedback and while we have not been in a position to accommodate all your comments, we have certainly recognised many. The content of our website continues to be updated by our team and while the website is live and operational – it will continue to be a ‘work in progress’ for quite some time.

Emerge Australia is a member of the Australian Self-Care Alliance. To that end we have participated in a consultation of the national preventative health project supported by Victoria University who is undertaking a national feasibility study to consider the potential for social prescribing in Australia for the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. The aims of this study are to draw together the evidence of what social prescribing models have been found to work well within health services and related care systems and settings to reduce health risks and address health needs. The study also aims to identify what models are relevant in the Australian context to connect primary health care patients to local, community-based services to address the risk factors and influences of poor health and wellbeing. This work may have important ramifications for people with ME/CFS and Long COVID and Emerge Australia is delighted to be involved.

Additionally, as members of the Neurological Alliance of Australia we have supported their submission for NAA-aligned improvements to the NDIS.  

Collaboration with others in the sector where there are overlaps in what we are asking for on a health policy level strengthens our voice on your behalf and adds weight to what we all seek. Unity of purpose and speaking with one voice are critical to achieving better outcomes for all.

A major focus of our work has also been on identifying new opportunities for collaboration and funding across our key areas of clinical education, biomedical research, patient services and telehealth. To that end our new staff member Sarah Brown who has come on board while Dr Rochelle Lade is on maternity leave has been working on a total of six submissions across various government inquiries and funding opportunities some of which will see us collaborate with a range of tertiary institutions around research. You will find details of our AusME Registry further in this edition.

Emerge Australia’s Medical Director Dr Richard Schloeffel OAM and Dr Michelle Tavoletti and I attended the first Long COVID Conference arranged by the Victorian State Government recently. Whilst the presentations from patients with lived experience included commentary on ME/CFS it was disappointing that there wasn’t a greater focus. Good contacts were however established, and further dialogue is planned.

Finally, from me I had the pleasure to attend PharmAus at Parliament House in Canberra last week. The meeting arranged by Medicines Australia that included Health Minister Mark Butler and the Shadow Minister Senator Anne Ruston as well as Dr Mike Freelander among other notable clinicians was focussed on strengthening the PBS. Despite the fact that people with ME/CFS have very limited benefit from pharmaceuticals compared to those with other forms of chronic disease, many key contacts were renewed and established leading to calls for future meetings and discussions.

As you will read further on, we are delighted to welcome Jenna Brindley, Emerge Australia’s first Social Worker to join our Patient Support and Telehealth Service.  Jenna is an experienced Social Worker and comes to us from the Austin Hospital in Melbourne. This means that our Telehealth Service is now manned by our two Telehealth Nurses and Jenna who will deliver allied health services and support to those who call us. Jenna is the first allied health professional to join our Telehealth service which, with additional funding, we are hopeful to expand to a total multi-disciplinary team of four allied health professionals plus our nurses over time.

We hope you enjoy reading the rest of this newsletter that has been put together by our wonderful Emerge Australia team who are always there to respond to your calls and emails. As always I invite you to write to me at: [email protected] with any ideas, thoughts or questions. Enjoy!

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Anne Wilson Chief Executive Officer 

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