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MoH to administer funding for disability support

21 July 2000 Media Statement

MoH to administer funding for disability support services

Funding for disability support services will continue to be administered centrally rather than by District Health Boards, Minister for Disability Issues Ruth Dyson announced today.

Pending the recommendations of the New Zealand Disability Strategy and Ageing in Place Strategy, responsibility for the funding will be transferred from the Health Funding Authority to the Ministry of Health, where a disability directorate has been set up.

"The decision recognises the distinct identity of disability support services, and ends their Cinderella status as an add-on to health services," Ms Dyson said.

"For many people with disabilities, a close association with health is simply not relevant. Their focus is on human rights, participation and independence. The medical model has limited their ability to develop a separate identity and philosophy."

Ms Dyson said she and Minister for Senior Citizens Lianne Dalziel would make further recommendations on funding arrangements for disability support services by March next year.

"By that time, the disability and ageing strategies will be in place. We will be guided by those documents, which will be the subject of wide consultation in the coming months."

District Health Boards will still be required to focus on and promote disability support services, Ms Dyson said.

"Boards will be required by law to set up disability support advisory committees. They will also be required to report clearly and separately in their annual plans on how they intend addressing the disability support needs of their population, in so far as they are responsible for doing so."

Ms Dyson said she would be writing to the Hospital and Health Services boards to ensure they include a section in their transition (and then establishment) plans on how they propose addressing concerns from the disability sector.

ENDS

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