Report: People with disabilities go unheard

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PEOPLE with disabilities in Canberra feel as though clinicians aren’t listening and say there’s a lack of disability support in ACT health services, according to a new report released today (September 6) by the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS).

The executive director of ACTOSS, Susan Helyar, says the report titled, “Imagining Better – Reflections on access, choice and control in ACT health services for people with disability”, provides evidence of the need for improved responses across policy, workforce, attitudes and infrastructure.

Susan Helyar.

“The report documents insights from people with disabilities into the operation of some health services,” she says.

“People with lived experience shared concerning experiences including a lack of communication prior to a major surgery; a lack of disability supports during inpatient stays and in outpatient settings, being unable to afford the care they needed, access and infrastructure issues in the Canberra Hospital, clinicians not taking the time to listen, inaccessible testing kits and interactions with doctors in Centrelink assessments which corroded confidence in other medical interactions.

“This work was people led and culminated in an appreciative inquiry session where people with disability reflected on real life stories, data and evidence.

“The report includes clear advice on constructive ways forward. This advice was built on what people told us what went well for them – good communication, considering and addressing accessibility and enabling disability supports to be used within both inpatient and outpatient settings.”

The report can be accessed here. 

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