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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 3 December 2020) . . Page.. 261 ..

Ms Stephen-Smith: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) The ACT Government committed to developing an ACT Disability Health Strategy during the recent election campaign. In 2021, the ACT Health Directorate (ACTHD) will commence work on a developing the strategy informed by the lived experience of people with disability, relevant non-government organisation (NGO) disability sector organisations and government stakeholders.

When drafting the Strategy, the ACTHD will be reviewing existing disability strategies, including the ACT Disability Justice Strategy 2019-2029 to consider lessons learnt. Consideration will also be given to pandemic and emergency planning in the development of the Disability Health Strategy.

(2) The ACT Government funds a range of acute, sub-acute, primary and community-based health services and support that are delivered across both the public and private sectors to a wide range of people with disabilities in the ACT.

In 2020, the ACTHD’s COVID-19: An ACT Operational Plan for People with Disability outlined the actions and responsibilities of the ACT Health Directorate, hospital, primary healthcare and specialist disability services to support people living with disability and their carers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACTHD funds 19 organisations to deliver support services, including for people with disability and their carers, under the Community Assistance and Support Program (CASP) and the Flexible Family Support program. These services complement the many services provided by the Commonwealth under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

(3) Currently, there is not an accepted and robust definition that can be applied technically to data for ‘a patient with disability’ within the hospital system. As a result, the ACTHD is unable to identify the relevant patient cohort in order to respond to this question. Feedback from the Disability Reference Group indicates that data collection and quality will be a key consideration in the Disability Health Strategy.

(4) Refer to response to question 3.

(5) Refer to response to question 3.

(6) Refer to response to question 3.

(7) The ACT Government recognises the importance of providing appropriate health services and support to people with disability. The Government’s commitment is underscored by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability hearings into the experience of people with disability and health.

The importance of addressing barriers faced by people with disability in accessing health services, including those recognised by the ACTCOSS Imagining Better report, has been a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barriers for people with disability accessing health services during the COVID-19 period will continue to be addressed through the ongoing refinement and implementation of the COVID-19: An ACT Operational Plan for People with Disability (published on the ACT Government COVID-19 website).

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