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Disability Service Providers Meet Mayor

Auckland City Council - City Scene

Representatives of Auckland's disability service providers network met the mayor, Chris Fletcher, to express very real concerns over recent changes to services and funding policies by the Health Funding Authority.

They explained that HFA is now purchasing disability services valued at millions of dollars covering the Auckland area, and administered from Hamilton.

HFA is using a model developed in the Waikato which they intend to apply when assessing the needs of South Auckland people with disabilities, and intellectual disabilities Auckland-wide. Families are also involved.

Group members said there has been absolutely no consultation with the Auckland organisations involved in providing assistance to disabled people in the city, before the change was made.

The Group has written to the Minister of Health, Wyatt Creech, questioning whether recent changes are in fact working, and suggesting that their consumers are not getting a better service, neither is the new system making more economic use of precious resources.

One example was a recent decision, to let a needs assessment contract for Auckland people, to a contractor from outside Auckland who has little understanding of Auckland people's needs.

The service providers network described this as "insensitive, and displaying a lack of understanding of the requirement for community driven services in Auckland."

The mayor said she shares the groups concerns, and cannot understand why a service which has been successfully administered from Auckland is now to be the responsibility of a Hamilton organisation.

She has invited the group to send a deputation to the next council meeting to fully explain their concerns, and to seek councillors support.

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