Stoma Appliance Scheme

This section of the website contains information on the Stoma Appliance Scheme.

Page last updated: 03 September 2020

Stoma Appliance Scheme – COVID-19 – Update

Ostomates may be concerned about the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the Scheme and their ability to access the products needed. Since early 2020, the Department has been working closely with the Australia Council of Stoma Associations (ACSA) in monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on ostomates and access to Scheme products. Together, we are resolving issues as they arise, to ensure that the distribution of stoma-related products to ostomates is unaffected.

At this time, stoma-related products in Australia are available as needed. We do encourage ostomates to allow a little more time when ordering stoma-related products. This will allow for the greater volumes of parcels Australia Post is delivering nationally, which may cause increases to usual delivery times. Please note that parcels for ostomates are marked as ‘essential medical supplies’ and we have been working with Australia Post to ensure packages are prioritised.

If you have remaining concerns, you may be eligible to order two months of products at a time. Two month ordering is available to any ostomate who has had their stoma for six months. Note, the cost of postage may be higher for this larger parcel. Some ostomates are also eligible for higher individual quantities of products, where there is a demonstrated clinical need, please speak to your Stomal Therapy Nurse (STN), colorectal surgeon or General Practitioner (GP) about this and to complete the required approval form. Please also contact your Stoma Association for more information.

You can find further information about the current status of ostomy product supplies, Australia Post deliveries and Stoma Associations on the ACSA website.

About the Scheme

The Stoma Appliance Scheme (SAS), established in 1975 and subsidised by the Australian Government, provides support to people with a stoma by improving access to the most suitable and clinically appropriate stoma related products. A stoma is a temporary or permanent body opening, either natural or surgically created, which connects a portion of the body cavity to the outside environment to allow bodily waste to leave the body. The point of exit or stoma, needs to be covered with a removable pouching system (adhesive or mechanical) to collect and contain the output for later disposal.

Products supplied under the Scheme assist people affected with stomas to better manage their condition, and allow greater participation in the society and workforce. These products are provided free of charge through 21 regional stoma associations across Australia. Approximately 45,000 people with stomas access SAS products through stoma associations. The stoma associations purchase stoma related products from suppliers and distribute to their members as required.

The choice of products which a person uses is guided by a Stomal Therapy Nurse (STN) who is specifically trained to advise on the use of stomal products following colostomy or ileostomy surgery. The STN will select and discuss products they feel are appropriate for the person with a stoma taking into consideration their lifestyle requirements.

Outcomes of consultation to understand ostomates’ views on services and supply

In late 2019, the Department sought feedback from ostomates and other stakeholders on access to products under the Stoma Appliance Scheme (the Scheme). The feedback provided will inform potential improvements to ensure ostomates continue to have access to the products and support services they need to manage their stoma.

The Department received over 2,000 responses to the consultation. The Department has now collated, reviewed and analysed the feedback which is now provided in the Stoma Appliance Scheme Consultation Outcomes document and is considering next steps.

Stoma Appliance Scheme Consultation Outcomes (PDF 791 KB)
Stoma Appliance Scheme Consultation Outcomes (Word 201 KB)

The feedback provided through the consultation indicates that most ostomates are receiving the products and support they require under the program. However, responses provided also identified a number of key areas where improvements could be made to the program.

The Department thanks all ostomates and other stakeholders of the Scheme for their support of the consultation. If you have any additional comments after reading the Stoma Appliance Scheme Consultation Outcomes document, please email the Stoma team (stoma@health.gov.au)