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Economic Impact

CP, formerly known as "Cerebral Paralysis," was first identified by English surgeon William Little in 1860. Little raised the possibility of asphyxia during birth as a chief cause of the disorder. It was not until 1897 that Sigmund Freud, then a neurologist, suggested that a difficult birth was not the cause but rather only a symptom of other effects on fetal development.[80] Research conducted during the 1980s by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) suggested that only a small number of cases of CP are caused by lack of oxygen during birth.[81]

Society and culture

Access Economics has released a report on the economic impact of cerebral palsy in Australia. Launched by the Hon. Bill Shorten, MP, the report found that, in 2007, the financial cost of cerebral palsy (CP) in Australia was $1.47 billion or 0.14% of GDP. When the value of lost well-being (disability and premature death) was added, the cost rose a further $2.4 billion.[82]

In 2007, the financial cost of CP was $1.47 billion (0.14% of GDP). Of this:

  • 1.03 billion (69.9%) was productivity lost due to lower employment, absenteeism and premature death of Australians with CP;
  • 141 million (9.6%) was the DWL from transfers including welfare payments and taxation forgone;
  • 131 million (9.0%) was other indirect costs such as direct program services, aides and home modifications and the bringing-forward of funeral costs;
  • 129 million (8.8%) was the value of the informal care for people with CP; and
  • 40 million (2.8%) was direct health system expenditure.

Additionally, the value of the lost well-being (disability and premature death) was a further $2.4 billion.

In per capita terms, this amounts to a financial cost of $43,431 per person with CP per annum. Including the value of lost well-being, the cost is over $115,000 per person per annum.

Individuals with CP bear 37% of the financial costs, and their families and friends bear a further 6%. Federal government bears around one third (33%) of the financial costs (mainly through taxation revenues forgone and welfare payments). State governments bear under 1% of the costs, while employers bear 5% and the rest of society bears the remaining 19%. If the burden of disease (lost well-being) is included, individuals bear 76% of the costs.

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