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Needless deaths of people with intellectual disability:

10 February 2017

The Acting NSW Ombudsman, Professor John McMillan, and Deputy Ombudsman & Community and Disability Services Commissioner, Steve Kinmond, discuss the implications highlighted by a recent UNSW study revealing that adults with intellectual disability are more than twice as likely to die from potentially avoidable causes as the general population in an article published by the ABC news on 9.2.17.

Calling for action in NSW and beyond, McMillan and Kinmond decry the ‘disparity and disadvantage’ people with intellectual disability face and the consistent failure to uphold their rights.

In one particularly horrific example, McMillan and Kinmond describe witnessing “people recorded as ‘not for resuscitation’ on admission to hospital despite being young and admitted for a treatable condition”.

At SAL Consulting we are deeply saddened by these reports, but we are unable to say we are deeply surprised. All too frequently have we witnessed the lack of regard afforded to persons with intellectual disability.

We applaud the Acting and Deputy Ombudsman for speaking out strongly on this issue and remain committed to working towards an Australia that meets the needs of people as individuals, regardless of their status as a person with a disability or otherwise.

Whilst articles such as this make sombre reading, we take heart knowing that we are not alone in our disgust, nor in our aim of an accessible and equitable nation.

Key Quotes:

“Some of the most vulnerable people in our society, with substantial health challenges and risks, do not receive the health services and treatment they require.”

“As it stands, the rights of people with disability — including the right to be provided with the same range, quality and standard of health care and programs as other people; to be provided with care of the same quality as other people; and to be free of discriminatory health care practice — are not consistently upheld.”

“[While] many people with disability in residential care have multiple health risks related to lifestyle factors, including obesity, poor diet and insufficient physical activity, very few of those whose deaths we have reviewed had access to preventive health programs.”

Link to Full Article:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-09/analysisa-ombudsman-on-healthcare-for-intellectually-disabled/8255738

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