Monday, 14 November 2011

Some steps up the hill: health advocacy for Australians with intellectual disabiity

From NSW Council on Intellectual Disability:
Some steps up the hill, is an update on our advocacy and progress on the health of people with intellectual disability over the last year, prepared by Jim Simpson (NSW CID) and Nick Lennox (Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine).  Highlights include:

·       “Health and Wellbeing” is one of the six policy areas in the National Disability Strategy that was adopted by the Council of Australian Governments in February 2011. The Strategy includes a range of agreed national strategies for action. Since then, the Queensland and Western Australian Governments have released new disability policy documents with a major focus on improved health care.

·       We released our position paper on mental health and people with intellectual disability and our position was endorsed by numerous leading individuals and groups in the mental health sector.

·      The NSW Government has funded three new intellectual disability health teams and established an Intellectual Disability Health Network in its Agency for Clinical Innovation.

We have also had major areas of frustration. For example, despite its considerable action on mental health, the Commonwealth is yet to squarely address the well established barriers to mental health care for people who have both an intellectual disability and a mental illness.

However, there is now a much higher awareness in government and the health sector of the health inequalities experienced by people with intellectual disability and significant action to start to address those inequalities.

Many of you have supported our advocacy by endorsing our position statements and responding to our requests to write to politicians on key issues. And many of you have pursued your own advocacy and direct work towards better health care for people with intellectual disability. All of this action has helped to show governments and the health sector that the health of people with intellectual disability is an issue of major community concern.

We hope you find Some steps up the hill a useful update. It and other information about our health advocacy are available here.

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