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An examination of education and training of allied health professionals continues

The education and training of dentists, pharmacists and allied health professionals, including psychologists and speech pathologists, in relation to the health care and treatment of people with cognitive disabilities will be further investigated when the Disability Royal Commission holds Day 3 of public hearing 10 on March 2nd 2021.

“Despite some worthwhile initiatives, the evidence before the Royal Commission indicates that there has been and continues to be systemic neglect of people with cognitive disability in the Australian health system”, Chair, Ronald Sackville AO QC said.

Mr Sackville explained “Day 3 of public hearing 10 will provide an opportunity to continue to examine some of the issues the Royal Commission has already identified, such as how training and education of health professionals can be adapted and adjusted to produce better quality care and outcomes for people with cognitive disability.”

Issues to be explored with health and allied health professionals in this hearing will include:

  • content of curricula at undergraduate and post-graduate schools and colleges relating to the health needs of people with cognitive disability and areas of curricula redevelopment to better support people with cognitive disability
  • accreditation and oversight of education and training programs
  • practice standards and professional competencies
  • post-registration and specialty education and training as well as continuing professional development
  • the extent of involvement of people with cognitive disability and, where appropriate, their families and support persons in the education and training of health professionals
  • the need for and effectiveness of education and training to address:
    • diagnostic overshadowing and the misdiagnosis of health conditions in people with cognitive disability
    • cultural attitudes, assumptions and beliefs about the quality of life and value of people with cognitive disability
    • communication with people with cognitive disability and their families and support persons, and
    • gaps in specialised knowledge in cognitive disability.

Mr Sackville will preside at the hearing alongside the Honourable Roslyn Atkinson AO, Ms Barbara Bennett PSM and Dr Rhonda Galbally AC.

The inquiry will be led by Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, Kate Eastman SC and Georgina Wright.

The Disability Royal Commission was established in April 2019 in response to community concern about widespread reports of violence against, and the neglect, abuse and exploitation of, people with disability. The Commission is bound by its terms of reference to investigate the treatment of these at-risk members of the community.

The hearing will be closed to the public because of COVID-19, but will be live-streamed on the Royal Commission website.