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Cerebral Palsy and the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Posted by Dr Mike O'Connor on 11 November 2013
Cerebral palsy affects two to 2.5 infants per thousand live births in Australia.  It had been estimated that the prevalence of patients with cerebral palsy in Australia in 2007 was nearly 34,000 persons.  According to an Access Economics Report in 2007 the cost of caring for each affected individual was $43,431 annually, amounting to a national cost of $1.47billion.  This is 0.14 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

The new Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme is set to revolutionise disability support for an estimated 440,000 disabled persons and in particular for over 35,000 victims of cerebral palsy (CP). The current support for sufferers of cerebral palsy is fragmented and their families and carers expend great time and effort accessing a range of different support agencies. The present ‘forensic lottery’ means that only a small percentage of CP victims whose injuries have been caused by medical negligence can secure large settlements under civil tort litigation. The NDIS promises a much more equitable scheme where severely disabled children can receive the necessary early intervention, which is so important to their long term outcome. Such support will be provided irrespective of ‘fault’ although recouping the costs of lifelong care through civil litigation in medical negligence remains an option.
Author: Dr Mike O'Connor
About: Dr Mike O'Connor is an obstetrician and gynaecologist based at Kogarah in Sydney's southern suburbs. Dr O'Connor is the current Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee at St George Private hospital. He also has a Masters in Health Law and is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine and acts as an expert witness in medico legal issues.
Tags: Cerebral Palsy

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