In the uncertainty of an election year, Inclusion Australia and partners are calling on all political parties to guarantee commitment to the National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability.
Evidence heard at the Disability Royal Commission showed that people with intellectual disability die up to 27 years earlier than people without disability. Many of these deaths are from potentially avoidable causes.
As the national representative body for people with an intellectual disability and their families we applaud the Australian Government’s support for the development of the Roadmap and commitment in August 2021 to funding its rollout. This includes a commitment to establish a National Centre of Excellence on the Health of People with Intellectual Disability, which is already underway in consultation with our community.
The Roadmap was developed by the Department of Health through a highly collaborative process. This included a series of roundtables with people with an intellectual disability, families, and representatives, as well as academic and health experts. As a result, it is very much in line with what was advocated for in the Our Health Counts campaign by the Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) and Inclusion Australia in collaboration with Down Syndrome Australia, the Australian Association for Developmental Disability Medicine and the Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry at UNSW.
The Roadmap also has the support of a range of leading people with intellectual disability and family members, disability advocacy, health and service provider organisations, the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, representatives of key professional colleges and associations, leaders in health education, Primary Health Networks and relevant Commonwealth and State and Territory health and disability agencies.
Today we stand with them, and over 100 prominent voices from across the disability community to call for support from all political parties and independents to implement the Roadmap and “urgently address the stark and sometimes deadly health inequalities faced by people with intellectual disabilities”.
“This call comes at a critical time for people with an intellectual disability,” said Catherine McAlpine, CEO of Inclusion Australia. “The current COVID-19 pandemic has brutally exposed the reality of health inequality in for people with an intellectual disability. Reports from the United Kingdom have highlighted the death rate from COVID for people with learning [intellectual] disabilities aged 18-30 as up to 30 times higher than for those without an intellectual disability.”
“We and our members have been active and provided clear advice to the Australian Government on the need for targeted interventions to support our community. As we enter a third year of life with COVID-19, a national commitment to better meeting the health needs of people with an intellectual disability is still urgently required.”
For more on how you can get involved in the campaign, please visit cid.org.au/our-campaigns/end-deadly-disability-discrimination-2/