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Inquiry into disability services needed

Dr Paul Hutchison
National Party Disability Issues Spokesman

8 May 2006

Inquiry into disability services needed

The National Party is seeking a select committee inquiry into the quality of care and services provision for people with disabilities.

National’s Disability Issues spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison, says serious concerns have been raised over poor quality of care, abuse, neglect and poor fiscal management by disability provider Focus 2000.

“Health Minister Pete Hodgson has ordered a series of audits into Focus 2000, but reports of major problems within the wider disability providers sector have come to light,” says Dr Hutchison.

Lorna Sullivan of the Disabled Persons Assembly has said ‘we’ve got a deep systemic problem – very vulnerable people are living in the most compromised of circumstances in this country and have nobody to speak for them’.

“Although there is agreement about the aims of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, there are serious concerns about people with disabilities not achieving optimal quality of life,” says Dr Hutchison.

“Many in the sector are saying that since deinstitutionalisation a culture of mini institutionalisation has developed. It is alleged that throughout New Zealand, people with disabilities are not receiving individualised care that will allow them to lead an ordinary life.

“Another concern is the Ministry of Health’s auditing methodology. Neither the Health Minister nor the Disability Issues Minister is acknowedging these problems.

“I am hoping to receive support from other political parties to improve service provision for people with disabilities,” says Dr Hutchison.

Suggested terms of reference for the inquiry have been developed with help from experts within the disability services community.


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