July 12, 2016
Transalpine Health Disability Action Plan launched in Christchurch and Greymouth
Consulting with families, identifying staff champions, and providing large print health information are some of the actions outlined in the Canterbury and West Coasts’ Health Disability Action Plan being launched today.
Chief Executive of the Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards, David Meates, says the Plan has been developed over the past year in consultation with groups that support and advocate for people with disabilities and this consultation helped define priority actions for the coming year, and for over the next decade.
The official launch of the Plan, held simultaneously in Christchurch and Greymouth via a telehealth link, was the start of an exciting journey and Mr Meates expected its implementation would have far-reaching positive effects.
“A focus on both staff education, and improving accessibility and inclusion for people with impairments will undoubtedly improve access and inclusiveness for everyone,’’ he says.
Mr Meates says the Plan was a ‘living document’ that would be reviewed and adapted following ongoing community consultation.
“We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities. We know we need to and can do better but the launch of our new Plan is a major step in the right direction,” he says.
“We will be collecting feedback on services and facilities and equipping staff to deliver appropriate, timely services in a way that suits people with disabilities, and their families or whanau. Ultimately, the aim of the Disability Strategy Action Plan is to empower people to be able to make decisions about their own health and wellbeing.’’
Latest Statistics NZ data shows 1.1 million New Zealanders, or 24 per cent of the population, have some form of physical, mental or sensory impairment. Half of those aged over 65 have some form of impairment and with the average age of our population on the rise, the rate of disability is expected to increase.
Paralympian Ben Lucas, Chef de Mission for the upcoming Rio Paralympics and member of the Canterbury District Health Board’s Disability Support Advisory Committee, was one of a number of people asked to provide feedback on the Burwood Hospital environment at a planning stage.
“After 26 years in a wheelchair it was wonderful to be invited to take part in the consultation process of such a large build as the Burwood Hospital.
“It is fantastic that the Canterbury Health System is giving people with disabilities a way for their accessibility message to be heard through the Plan.
“Recognising a significant number of people identify as having a disability and implementing what is quite an extensive Disability Action Plan, is going to mean people of Canterbury with a disability will have the best possible service. It means they will be taken into account in everything our health system plans for in the future.”