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Improved Disability Support Services

National's health decisions are governed by its Medium Term Strategy for Health

Goal Number Seven in the Medium Term Strategy is:

“to improve disability support services with the aim of maximising the ability of people with disabilities and their caregivers to enjoy a full and independent life.”

The last ten years have seen a huge effort to improve disability support services. At first those involved were fearful of change – now they see the benefit. And they like it. We spend approximately $1.025 billion a year on disability support services.

NATIONAL’S Three Broad Disability Support Goals:

1. To maximise independence
2. Have effective habilitation and rehabilitation
3. To support opportunities to participate.

NATIONAL wants greater emphasis on family involvement in determining services.

We seek increased flexibility in funding arrangements for disability support, such as individualised funding. Giving the individuals concerned control of their support services budget is one way of increasing their independence and empowering them to make their own choices about services.

We seek a much greater emphasis on quality community-based care. We seek better coordination of services. We want people to receive services tailored to their actual needs.

Minister with responsibility for Disability Support Services

In July, the Associate Minister of Health, Georgina te Heuheu was formally delegated specific responsibility for Disability Support Services by Prime Minister Jenny Shipley. This is designed to ensure people with disabilities have a clear and specific advocate in Cabinet.

Funding spent on Disability Support Services especially home based services

National wants to assist people with disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community of their choosing. We want to improve assistance with daily personal care activities, help with household activities, provide relief for caregivers and equipment to enable greater participation in the community.

Modernisation/Closure of old institutions

The days of the big old institutions of the past are well and truly over. National supports shifting people needing services to new options that are modern and appropriate and provide a good quality of life. National wants balance in this area .

New services for residents with intellectual disabilities are underway for Templeton Centre, Christchurch, and Seaview Hospital, Hokitika.

We want people to be able to lead as normal lives as possible. But we want them to have options. Cluster housing like that run by Rescare in Mangere where a group of patients wanted their children to live in a cluster of houses as self contained communities is one option. We want people to have what works best for them. We want to involve families in the level and type of care for their family member. This includes preparation of a care and treatment plan, involving families and caregivers and mechanisms for information and community consultation.

Special Education 2000

Special Education 2000 is a major policy initiative of Education to develop clear and predictable resourcing for students with special needs, regardless of setting. It is now working well. Over $200 million more is committed to better education for young people with special needs.

Role of WINZ

We will work closely with all people with disabilities to provide assistance with employment or with income maintenance through the benefit system. Needs assessment trials aims to focus on what people can do rather than concentrating on what they can’t do.

Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care) Bill

A new law has been introduced that ensures secure and appropriate care for those who are unable to cope. Care orders can be issued for those who are a danger to themselves or others as a result of an intellectual disability.

The Government has announced $50 million new investment over the next three years for new services and facilities for these people.

New resources will be split between secure care facilities – whether new facilities, or extensions to existing buildings – respite care, crisis support, therapeutic intervention, behaviour support, community residential care, day programmes etc.

ENDS

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