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.