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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6094


We would like a national implementation of a scoliosis screening process in all Australian schools from Year 6 (11yo) to Year 9 (15yo). Scoliosis is a spinal condition where the spine curves abnormally. About 2.5% of girls in Australia have scoliosis. It usually develops around puberty when girls have growth spurts. It's far more prevalent in pre-teens and teenage girls than it is in boys and any other age. Scoliosis can be identified through a simple 'bend test' where the child stands straight and then bends forward, which will show a crooked spine or a rib hump where the ribcage has twisted. It only takes 30 seconds and if it looks like a child has it, then they can be sent home with a note telling their parents to get a x-ray to confirm. Early intervention is KEY, bracing is the best method but when left untreated, major invasive spinal fusions are needed, which cost the health care system from $20000 which excludes the 6 monthly x-rays, the physio and pain treatment teams to manage the debilitating pain scoliosis can cause. The simple screening that would prevent hundreds of girls undergoing life altering surgery (which can stop them attending school and playing sport). The bend test could even be taught to immunisation nurses so that when kids get immunised at school, they quickly do the bend test as well.

We therefore ask the House to implement a compulsory scoliosis screening for 11-15 year old girls in every Australian school.

from 421 citizens (Petition No. EN0611)