Con­tinue to help po­lio sur­vivors

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

WED­NES­DAY, Oc­to­ber 22 was PPS Day, a day or­gan­ised by The Bri­tish Po­lio Fel­low­ship to raise aware­ness about Post-Po­lio Syn­drome (PPS) and the threat that it poses to 80 per cent of Bri­tain’s 120,000 po­lio sur­vivors.

I am writ­ing to ask your read­ers to support calls for a new na­tional strat­egy to deal with PPS to be de­vel­oped.

At present, we are woe­fully



ill-pre­pared to cope with a health prob­lem that af­fects about the same num­ber of peo­ple as Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

Po­lio has pro­foundly af­fected the lives of some 120,000 peo­ple in the UK. Many have led lives with wasted limbs, paral­y­sis and se­vere mo­bil­ity is­sues as a re­sult of the dis­ease and yet few are aware of the dev­as­ta­tion it causes.

Now a newly recog­nised neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tion, known as Post Po­lio Syn­drome (PPS), is rear­ing its head and is likely to make life a whole lot harder for peo­ple who have al­ready en­dured a great deal.

PPS af­fects po­lio sur­vivors decades after they caught the dis­ease, by mak­ing mus­cles weaker and more painful and mak­ing move­ment ex­tremely dif­fi­cult.

Aware­ness about PPS within the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion is piti­fully low. In a re­cent survey, 69 per cent of GPs said they would not feel con­fi­dent di­ag­nos­ing the con­di­tion, giv­ing me real con­cern that peo­ple with PPS may not get the treat­ment they need and are en­ti­tled to.

This sit­u­a­tion must be changed. Greater aware­ness among GPs and other med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als is needed to en­sure that po­lio sur­vivors, who have al­ready been through so much, do not face PPS alone.

The Bri­tish Po­lio Fel­low­ship does a ster­ling job in sup­port­ing the po­lio sur­vivor com­mu­nity, and I urge peo­ple to ex­plore its work at www.british­po­ and of­fer their help where pos­si­ble.



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