So the cost of Autism in the UK is £32bn a year, according to a report published on the BBC News website.
Research suggests the economic cost of supporting someone with autism over a lifetime (£1.5m in the UK and $2.4m in the US for individuals with the highest needs) much higher than previously thought, research suggests.
That is more than heart disease, stroke and cancer combined, said autism charity Autistica, but only £6.60 per person is spent on autism research compared with £295 on cancer.
"Autism cost the UK at least £32bn a year in terms of treatment, lost earnings, and care and support for children and adults with ASD, found the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.
"The figures showed a clear need for more effective interventions to treat autism, ideally in early life, to make the best use of scarce resources, said lead researcher Prof Martin Knapp, of the London School of Economics and Political Science, in London.
"We need to use our resources earlier, identify people earlier and try to provide therapies and support that makes it easier to manage the condition," he told BBC News.
"He said new government policies were also needed to address 'the enormous impact on families'.
So, on the same basis, how much does cerebral palsy cost the UK in "treatment, lost earnings, and care and support for children and adults" with CP? What new Goverment policies do we need to address 'the enormous impact on families'?
Does anyone know? Is anyone asking?
I did some internet searches a while ago and found two reports. There's a strong risk of not comparing like with like without a detailed comparison of the studies but, for what it's worth:
(1) In 2004, in America, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (yes, really! That's "who is asking") published “Economic Costs Associated with Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Loss, and Vision Impairment", a study "examining the direct and indirect medical expenses associated with developmental disabilities".
The report concluded that the “lifetime costs in 2003 dollars are expected to total .... $11.5 billion for persons with cerebral palsy" of which
- Indirect costs – 80.6%, or $9.241 billion, accounts for indirect expenses such as productivity loss due to inability to work; limitation in the amount or type of work; and premature mortality
- Direct medical costs – 10.2%, or $1.175 billion, includes physician visits, prescription medications, in-patient hospital stays, assistive devices, therapies, rehabilitation, and long-term care
- Direct non-medical costs – 9.2%, or $1.054 billion, includes such expenses special education, home and automobile modifications
(2) In 2008, Access Economics published "The economic impact of cerebral palsy in Australia in 2007", a report commissioned by CP Australia, that found that "the financial cost of cerebral palsy (CP) in Australia was $1.47 billion or 0.14% of GDP. When the value of lost wellbeing (disability and premature death) was added, the cost rose a further $2.4 billion".
Interestingly, in the light of the current work of Action Cerebral Palsy in the UK to take the issue of cerebral palsy to the politicians, the Australian Report was launched by an MP, the Hon Bill Shorten.
"Mr Shorten applauded CP Australia for commissioning the research, saying it would be a very powerful tool for anyone involved in the sector.
“Bringing together this data allows everyone involved in the sector to see where real inroads can be made."
“This Government is very much committed to looking for ways to ease the burden and improve the quality of life of our most marginalised members of society.”
(1) I found the American report on a website called "My Child - the ultimate resource for everything cerebral palsy". You might like to read what the site authors have to say about conductive education. (Personally, I didn't really like being called a "devotee", sounds dismissively like being a member of some archane cult.)
(2) I've not lately searched for any more recent reports on the cost of CP
(3) Bill Shorten has been Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Parliament since October 2013.