(QldGovSpin) Children with cerebral palsy to receive co-ordinated care service

Submitted by Editor on Wed, 21/07/2004 - 20:06

The State Government has announced $1-million has been allocated to establish Queensland's first co-ordinated health program to help children with cerebral palsy.

Health, Gordon Nuttall


Health Minister Gordon Nuttall said the Statewide Service for Children with Cerebral Palsy would monitor a child's development to provide better and faster access to treatments and therapies.

Funding for the service will increase to $2.7 million in 2005-06.

"Children will undergo regular x-rays to monitor their hip development progress, especially in the acute growth years from birth to five years, when x-rays are required to be done every six months.

"With new technology, those x-rays can be emailed to experts throughout Queensland, to monitor what treatment and therapies they need to prevent a problem, rather than after a problem has developed," he said.

"For example, regular x-rays and monitoring may reveal that a child's hip is becoming displaced. That means we can link that child to the early treatment they need to prevent the problem - whether it be a splint, new treatments like botox to reduce spasms, or more complex surgery.

"Currently, a displaced hip can lead to muscle deterioration and pain throughout the patient's life."

Mr Nuttall said the program would help alleviate stress on families trying to navigate the many services required to help children with cerebral palsy.

"Importantly, it will mean that families can be part of the planning for their child's care, rather than going from one specialist appointment to the next when problems arise," he said.

"This program will link the services of a range of private and public health specialists, including ophthalmologists, speech therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and surgeons.

"It will also link other agencies that care for children with cerebral palsy, like Education Queensland and the Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland."

Mr Nuttall said the League would also run a new Statewide Register of children with cerebral palsy, in partnership with the Government, to contribute to the national register and to enable improved planning for services in the future.

Every year in Queensland, between 100 and 120 children are born with cerebral palsy, a result of an injury to the brain that affects the functioning of muscles and nerves in the body. Its cause is unknown.

"The condition is more likely to be found in children who are born as twins or triplets or extremely prematurely," Mr Nuttall said.

"With the advancements in IVF treatments and saving more premature babies, there are increased chances of cerebral palsy."

The service will operate out of the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane.

Media Contact: David Potter 3234 1190, 0409 305 662



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