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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Health Committee begins inquiry hearings into long COVID

Health Industry Hub | February 16, 2023 |

Pharma News: Following a referral on 1 September 2022 from the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler MP, the House Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport is conducting an inquiry into long COVID and repeated COVID Infections.

The Committee will hear from Australians living with long COVID and other post-viral illness at a public hearing on 17 February 2023 at Parliament House in Canberra.

The Chair of the Committee, Dr Mike Freelander MP, said “Listening to Australians living with long COVID about their experiences, journey to diagnosis and treatment is a key role of this inquiry.

“The Committee appreciates the time taken by many people with long COVID who wrote to us to share how the condition has deeply impacted many aspects of their lives. Our public hearing will unpack some of the issues raised in these submissions in more detail  so we can consider how to better support long COVID patients now and in the future.”

Following a joint submission to the Inquiry by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS), they will bring together experts to provide evidence to the House Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport.

The experts will address several topics including a standard definition of long COVID that considers differences between adults and young people; the most significant knowledge gaps in the impacts of long COVID; which actions to prioritise in addressing those gaps; and how the government, research and health sectors can work to deliver those interventions.

Professor Tania Sorrell AM FAHMS, an internationally renowned infectious diseases physician and AAHMS Fellow, said “Long COVID is increasingly recognised as a complex and life-changing illness that could affect many thousands of Australians. To significantly improve health and wellbeing, we must better understand long COVID itself, as well as its impacts on individuals, their families and carers, and society.”

The Committee will also hear from the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (NACCHO) and the roundtable of scientific and medical experts.

The Deputy Chair of the Committee, Mrs Melissa McIntosh MP, stated “The roundtable convened by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences will bring together experts in areas such as infectious diseases, epidemiology, immunology, mental health and public health. This is a great opportunity for the Committee to hear from individuals at the forefront of COVID research and treatment.”

The Committee will hear from the Department of Health and Aged Care about what the Government is doing to respond to the new challenges for Australia’s healthcare system presented by long COVID and repeated COVID infections and is also looking forward to hearing from NACCHO with its valuable insights into the primary care response to COVID-19 in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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