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Experiences of health care for people with cognitive disability published on Disability Royal Commission website

Access to quality health care, the use of restrictive practices and involuntary treatment are just some issues that people with cognitive disability say they deal with on a daily basis when it comes to health care. 

People have raised concerns about access to affordable, quality health care, especially for people who live in group homes, in responses to an issues paper on the health of people with cognitive disability for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

The responses indicate that health professionals were not always equipped to communicate with people with a cognitive disability, which meant they could not conduct proper health assessments.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, in their response, said that ‘cost constraints’ can delay people with disability from seeing a health professional.

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia noted a ‘scandalous shortage’ of psychiatrists equipped to treat people with autism.

Several responses raised concerns about restrictive practices, especially around the use of physical and chemical restraints.

Other responses expressed concerns in relation to involuntary treatment, when a person is provided with medical treatment without their consent.

The Royal Commission called for responses from the community when releasing its Health care for people with cognitive disability Issues Paper in November 2019.

The responses came from people with disability, family members, academics and other organisations.

Responses also included examples of good practice and proposals for change.

All responses received will inform the Royal Commission’s work and will help develop final recommendations.

Further responses to this Issues Paper can still be made, however these will now be via the general submissions process.

We have published 35 responses, in line with people’s preferences and our legal obligations.

Read the responses and the Overview of responses.