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22nd May 2023

Calls For Early Diagnosis Education Campaign

MP, Jeff Smart, Olivia Nassaris

Parkinson’s Australia is lobbying the Federal Government to fund a $2.5 million campaign to GPs to promote the early warning signs of Parkinson’s, as well as a national public awareness campaign about the motor and non-motor symptoms experienced by people living with Parkinson’s.

The lobbying has picked up in recent months with meetings held with key Federal Government representatives in March, which followed a Pre-Budget Submission in January.

Jeff Smart (above middle), diagnosed at 50 in the prime of his working life, told politicians about his story of finding it difficult to get a diagnosis and the anxiety that it caused him.

“After finally getting a diagnosis, I was able to introduce things into my daily routine that help manage my Parkinson’s,” Jeff said.

“I am fitter and exercise more now, I look after what I eat making sure I have a lot of green vegetables and the fact that I’m aware of non-motor symptoms such as anxiety, means I am better equipped to manage it.”

Early diagnosis and early intervention leads to better management of the condition for individuals like Jeff, their families and loved ones. It also has a positive impact on our economy and health system.

Symptom management from a team of allied health professionals and access to support can help to slow the progression of Parkinson’s and improve overall quality of life.

This reduces falls risks and presentations to emergency departments, allows people to live independently at home, remain in the workforce and live well with the condition.

George Mellick, Parkinson’s Australia President, said:

“There is an urgent need for endorsed, consistent and up-to-date information and education for GPs and allied health professionals to ensure the earliest possible diagnosis of Parkinson’s, accompanied with the knowledge and awareness to confidently implement evidence-based treatment and management options.”

“The $2.5 million is a modest ask from Parkinson’s Australia to the Federal Government in this budget to achieve an outcome that will have a positive impact for people living with Parkinson’s and their families.”

Parkinson’s Australia advocates for the 150,000 people living with Parkinson’s and their families.

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