16 June 2019

Hopes of finding a cure for spinal cord injury (SCI) will be boosted by a $15 million investment in research funding over five years.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the funding in this year’s Budget will advance our understanding of spinal cord injury, which affects more than 400 people in NSW and their families each year.

“Every day, a life will be changed in an instant due to a spinal cord injury and the emotional, social and financial impact on people can be devastating,” Mr Perrettot said.

“It could happen with a fall down the stairs or a car accident, or diving into shallow water, which then robs people of their mobility and bodily functions.

“However it happens, it will affect nearly every aspect of their life and the estimated cost of care more broadly to the NSW community is around $120 million per year.”

Nationally, around 12,000 Australians are living with a SCI. Around 80 per cent of newly reported cases are accident related. The remaining are non-traumatic injuries

Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injury, followed by falls, being struck or colliding with a person or object, water-related activities and other sporting injuries.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the allocation of the $15 million will be merit- based and researchers will need to demonstrate how their work will benefit patients in NSW.

“This investment will allow SCI researchers from a variety of disciplines to collaborate and deliver their bench top research to the bedside and beyond,” Mr Hazzard said.

“It builds on last year’s investment of $150 million over 10 years in cardiovascular medical research and proves yet again that the NSW Government is getting it done.

“A spinal cord injury used to mean certain death but advances in research now mean SCI survivors can have a better quality of life and the hope of a cure.”