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Disabled NZers face unequal access to rehab

Disabled New Zealanders face unequal access to rehab services

Disabled New Zealanders are not getting equal access to rehabilitation services, says New Zealand Rehabilitation Association president Dr Samir Anwar.

“It seems unfair that disabled people, with a similar level of disability, get a better deal if they are covered by ACC rather than funded by the Ministry of Health or Disability Support Services,” says Dr Anwar.

“There appears to be a multi-tiered system of rehab service delivery to people with disabilities in New Zealand, and this has led to a lack of equity in the provision of rehabilitation,” he explains.

This issue will be at the top of the agenda when the association’s biannual conference is held from 17 November to 19 November at the Telstra Clear Events Centre in Auckland.

A panel of experts will debate the inequalities faced by disabled New Zealanders seeking rehabilitation on Friday 18 November from 3.30pm to 5pm. Representatives from consumer groups, private and public rehabilitation providers, advocacy groups, ACC and the Ministry of Health will contribute to the discussion.

The multi-disciplinary conference will discuss other issues facing rehabilitation specialists and clinicians as well as examining cutting edge research and developments in the field. Researchers from the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health will present results from a major study into strokes amongst Aucklanders.

“More and more New Zealanders are affected by strokes and these results raise serious implications about the funding and planning for this significant health condition,” says Dr Anwar.

A range of prominent international and national speakers will address key issues facing the rehabilitation sector throughout the conference. Other topics to be covered include: the use of everyday technology - such as mobile phones - to help those with brain injuries, the barriers experienced by Maori during stroke recovery, and the current climate of pain management in New Zealand.


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