Royal Commission welcomes new roadmap to improve the health of people with intellectual disability

The Disability Royal Commission welcomes the Australian Government’s release of a national roadmap to improve the health of people with intellectual disability.

The Royal Commission has held many public hearings that have examined the delivery of health care for people with cognitive disability, including people with intellectual disability, autism and acquired brain injuries. The roadmap considers a range of matters that have been raised in these hearings and the related Commissioners’ reports.

In the report published after its first hearing – Public hearing 4: Health care and services for people with cognitive disability the Royal Commission found that people with cognitive disability have been and continue to be subject to systemic neglect in the Australian health system.

Commissioners noted that whilst the Australian Government has supported initiatives to address this neglect, in future it will be necessary for it to “…provide the resources to ensure the robust implementation of the initiatives that have been developed”.

Commissioners observed that:

  • These initiatives must be implemented nationally;
  • Data must be gathered and research undertaken to evaluate their success in improving the health of people with cognitive disability;
  • Steps must be taken to change negative attitudes and assumptions made by many health professionals and institutions about people with cognitive disability;
  • Health professionals must learn the skills required to support people with cognitive disability and
  • Active steps must be taken to address the health care needs of people with autism.

The Chair of the Royal Commission, Ronald Sackville AO QC, said that the Royal Commission hopes to hear from people with cognitive disability and their families, about their experiences once the roll-out of the national road map commences.

The Royal Commission will consider whether the roadmap raises any issues within the terms of reference and whether any further inquiries are appropriate.