Fresh bid to aid Aussies with neurological conditions

Improved care for millions of Australians suffering debilitating neurological conditions will be the focus of a national summit on the issue.

Neurological Alliance Australia is holding the event at Parliament House, in Canberra, on Tuesday and aims to establish a task force for neurological conditions.

More than 43 per cent of Australians, or 10.6 million people, had a neurological condition in 2017, according to the Productivity Commission.

The most prevalent conditions include stroke, dementia, migraines, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease.

Alliance chair, Rohan Greenland, said the needs of those impacted were not addressed to the same degree as those with cancer or heart disease.

“Without effective strategies in place to mitigate their impact, they are a ticking time bomb on our health system and economy,” he said.

Mr Greenland, who is also chief executive of MS Australia, said neurological conditions were on the rise in Australia and worldwide.

“We need more thought, more organisation and more energy put into this particular sector of people,” he said.

The summit plans to bring together decision-makers, address neglect in strategies of care and focus on improved treatment for those suffering.

Alliance deputy chair Anne Wilson said a government-led task force could address the unique challenges faced by people living with these conditions.

“Every Australian knows someone living with a neurological condition and witnesses the lifelong impact on that person, together with their family, friends and carers,” Ms Wilson said.

Ms Wilson said a task force could set priorities, advance investment in research, facilitate timely diagnosis and enhance access to treatments.

This could mitigate disease progression along with future healthcare and disability care costs, she said.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has estimated the conditions have an annual impact of more than $100 billion on the national economy.

Many are incurable, progressive and degenerative, resulting in significant disability, with very few having effective treatments available.


Holly Hales
(Australian Associated Press)


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