More funding for clinical practice workshops to improve awareness of post-polio syndrome. The Federal Government is providing $450,000 to Polio Australia (PA) to run workshops that will provide up to 1200 primary and allied health care professionals with the opportunity to learn more about the illness effects, particularly if these recur later in life.

Polio Australia president Dr John Tierney told F2L “we can now commence this vital service to our post-polio community. After years of leading PA’s lobbying team to Canberra, we have not only succeeded in raising the profile of the needs of polio survivors in Parliament but now have funding to assist with the management and care of Australians with this condition”.

There will be a one week/five day series of half-day workshops in metropolitan, and one week/five day series of half-day workshops annually, in regional/rural centres across Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australian/Northern Territory. The workshops, which will be held in various locations still to be decided, is open to GPs, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and orthotists.

Polio Australia has also received funding to support activities that will improve access to quality primary health and medical services. The activity will establish a national pilot of the ‘Late Effects of Polio’ (LEoP) clinical practice workshop program to support the post-polio population

The late effects can occur up to 40 years after the initial infection with symptoms including fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, sleeping, breathing and swallowing difficulties. These can often be confused with other medical conditions with some patients not receiving the right treatment and support.  While there are no official figures on the number of people with post-polio syndrome,  PA is quoting figures of 40,000 that is an extrapolation on projected numbers.

 Post Polio Victoria vice president Dr Margaret Cooper, Minister for Health Greg Hunt, Polio Australia national program manager Maryann Liethof  and Polio Support Group secretary Frances Henke.