At the Roundtable from left: Gerry Naughton, Shu Hua Chan, Rebecca Kelly, Simon Cotterell.

Minister calls for national roadmap on health of people with intellectual disability

09 August 2019

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has called upon CID and other community stakeholders to work with his Department to develop a national roadmap on what needs to be done to improve the health of people with intellectual disability.

The Minister made this call while opening the August National Roundtable on the Health of People with Intellectual Disability. He said that developing the roadmap was “an immensely important task that we embark upon together”.

The Roundtable came about as a result of the Our Health Counts campaign. CID and Inclusion Australia have run the campaign in collaboration with the Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine, Down Syndrome Australia and the Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry at UNSW.

The campaign has drawn attention to alarming issues in the health of people with intellectual disability. People with intellectual disability are dying 27 years earlier and experience twice as many preventable deaths compared to the general population.

The Roundtable was a critical first step at a national level in bringing together key people to address these issues.

In her address to the Roundtable, CID Chairperson Shu Hua Chan outlined the importance of these discussions:

“This is an important human rights issue. We have the right to good health just like everyone else. We need your help today to make things better for people with intellectual disability.

Let’s all work together today to make sure the Government has the best advice on keeping us healthy and letting us live long lives like other people”.

At the Roundtable key advocates and intellectual disability health specialists talked with representatives of the Australian Medical Association, medical colleges, primary health networks and the National Disability Insurance Agency.

The Roundtable was chaired by Simon Cotterell, First Assistant Secretary in the Department of Health.

Rebecca Kelly, who shared her son Ryan’s story, gave a compelling first-hand account of the challenges facing people with intellectual disability in the health system.

There was strong support at the Roundtable for CID’s proposal to fund teams in primary health networks to work with GPs and other health professionals to provide better healthcare to people with intellectual disability.

A range of other areas that need to be covered in a national roadmap were also identified. One of these, that the Minister said he would also act upon, is working with universities to increase coverage of intellectual disability health issues in medical schools.

CID applauds Minister Hunt and his Department for these very positive first steps towards national action. CID looks forward to working closely with the Minister and the Department in developing the national roadmap. We will also continue to advocate for two concrete initial actions:

  1. Funding programs in some primary health networks.
  2. Increasing coverage of the needs of people with intellectual disability in university medical and nursing schools.

Go to the Our Health Counts campaign page  to find out more.

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