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Cunliffe: Address to Health Advocacy Meeting

6 March, 2008

Address to Health Advocacy Meeting

Speech notes from address to Health Advocacy meeting, 5 March 2008, Parliament Buildings

Tena Koutou Katoa, thank you for the invitation to briefly speak to you on the second day of your conference.

The work at the “grass roots level” done by all of you is of great important to the government. You bring about quality improvements in the Health and Disability Sector and you can come away from today with the knowledge that I recognise the significance of your role to the sector.

There are a number of commendable initiatives of the Advocacy Service which I would like to acknowledge:
• The support you provide to the Deaf community with specialised advocates skilled in communication with the Deaf;
• Your presence in all the rest homes throughout New Zealand
• The help you provide to our elderly and their families ensuring they receive high quality of care
• Your presence in disability homes and facilities, working towards complete coverage of these throughout the country
• The support you provide to disabled members of our community to ensure that high quality care is provided to them.

The Government is supporting the expansion of the Advocacy Service. This is evidenced by increased funding for the Advocacy Service in the current year and future increases over the next two years.

I view the future for Health and Disability Sector and the advocate’s role as one which focuses on quality improvements for all organisations within the sector. The work that advocates do to support consumers in the complaints process, and enhance the learning that comes from providers in addressing poor quality services supports improved processes and standards within the sector.

Conclusion
The Advocacy Service makes a huge contribution to the ongoing improvement in the quality of care provided to the consumers of Health and Disability Services throughout New Zealand.

You support our most vulnerable and least able community members to promote their own interests. You are contributing a valuable service to the people of New Zealand and you have both my praise and thanks for this.

Enjoy the rest of your evening.

ENDS

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