Position Statements

The ParaQuad NSW Board of Directors have approved the following position statements relating to spinal cord injury.

Partnerships

ParaQuad NSW will work in partnership with our members, key advocacy organisations, government bodies, private and public entities and non government organisations. The purpose of our work is to achieve positive outcome for people with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and others within the disability sector and to assist the integration of people with SCI into the community following injury. ParaQuad NSW also welcomes the approach, by other organisations, to work in collaboration to meet the needs of the wider disability community.

Adjustable height examination beds in GPs

The release of the 4th Edition of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for General Practices in October 2010 was welcomed by the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, The Physical Disability Council of NSW (PDCN) and the community sector in general.

While the RACGP mounted an education campaign to inform its members of the importance of having height adjustable examination beds, worked with the community sector to develop minimum technical requirements for the beds and included height adjustable examination beds as a non-mandatory requirement in the GP Standards, they were not willing to go that extra step and make them mandatory at that stage. They did, however, agree to revisit this issue at the next review of the GP Standards.

ParaQuad now joins with the Disability Discrimination Commissioner and PDCN in calling on RACGP to make height-adjustable examination beds a mandatory requirement for GP’s in the course of their current standards review.

Over the years the office of the Disability Discrimination Commissioner has received many distressing accounts on the experiences of patients with disability and older Australians trying to use fixed height beds with some having to be examined on the floor or whilst in their wheelchairs, and some not receiving important screening examinations e.g. for cervical or prostate cancer at all.

Further, a report from the Physical Disability Council of NSW (PDCN) indicates that most patients with a physical disability visiting their GP could not get a full examination or screening because they could not get onto the examination table.

ParaQuad NSW believes that a decision to make the use of height adjustable examination beds mandatory will improve the equality and access to health services for people with disabilities as part of the wider community. Height adjustable examination beds will limit the risk of misdiagnosis or non-detection of serious medical conditions; reduce the risks associated with legal responsibilities under discrimination law in addition to reducing the occupational health and safety issues for health practitioners, allied health professionals and patients.

Stem Cell Intervention

In November 2009, the ParaQuad NSW Board adopted the Australia New Zealand Spinal Cord Injury Network (ANZSCIN) Position Statement on Stem Cell Interventions for spinal cord injury. The statement provides information about stem cells and the possible use of stem cell therapy in the future. At this time, there are no approved stem cell treatments available and the statement advises people with spinal cord injury to be very careful if they are considering taking part in experimental procedures.

A full copy and explanation of the ANZSCIN Position Statement on Stem Cell Interventions for spinal cord injury can be found here.