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Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti to speak about post-polio syndrome in House of Commons

By Jade Edwards

Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti will speak in Parliament today about a painful condition which can leave patients waiting up to six years for a diagnosis.

Mr Chishti will speak about post-polio syndrome (PPS) during health questions, after he agreed to become the parliamentary ambassador for The British Polio Fellowship.

Most people fight off polio without realising they have the infection, but some sufferers experience paralysis, muscle weakness and shrinking.

Rehman Chishti, MP for Gillingham and Rainham.
Rehman Chishti, MP for Gillingham and Rainham.

Usually, these problems either go away or remain the same for years. With PPS some of these symptoms return, or get worse, years after the original infection.

Mr Chishti will ask what steps the health department are taking to support people with PPS after YouGov research found 93% of people don’t know about the condition, during health questions this afternoon.

The research also found that low awareness among GPs can leave patients waiting six years for a PPS diagnosis.

Chief executive of The British Polio Fellowship, Ted Hill, said: “Six years waiting for a diagnosis is unacceptable and raising this in parliament is vital as we campaign for greater public and professional awareness of a neurological condition affecting 120,000 people in the UK.

Ted Hill, chief executive of The British Polio Fellowship
Ted Hill, chief executive of The British Polio Fellowship

“These are similar numbers to those affected by Parkinson’s yet attract a fraction of the attention from the NHS and Rehman is helping us to change this.”

Mr Chishti said: “Following discussions with members of the British Polio Fellowship and meeting with Ted, I was happy to agree to be the charity’s Parliamentary Ambassador.

“I am very much looking forward to working with everyone on what is all too often an overlooked issue. Together, I’m sure we can do something to change that and asking the questions of the health department is an important step.”

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