The current health system has two related, but distinct, areas to consider in terms of disabled people and disability – disability support services which are services targeted at disabled people; and provision of health services to disabled people. 

With regard to disability support services, work on Disability System Transformation has been ongoing for more than a decade. The government has announced the establishment of the new Ministry for Disabled People that will deliver and transform Disability Support Services and progress work on the broader Disability System Transformation. This will include rolling out the Enabling Good Lives approach, which has been piloted in several areas across New Zealand since 2012.

The Ministry for Disabled People will be hosted by the Ministry of Social Development, recognising the broader and whole-of-life approach.

With regard to the provision of health services to disabled people, the health system needs to change to enable improved access, consistency, and service relevance while empowering disabled people and whanau to better manage their own health and wellbeing.  

What’s changing? / He aha ngā panonitanga?

The shift to a single nationwide health system managed by Health New Zealand (Health NZ), in partnership with the Māori Health Authority and delivered locally will improve the quality and consistency of care for disabled people. 

A national coordinated network of healthcare professionals and providers will help ensure best practice care is available to all disabled communities, and that care does not vary depending on where you live. 

The Disability Strategy will remain a cornerstone of our health system, and will direct the Ministry of Health, Māori Health Authority and Health NZ in delivering improved health outcomes for disabled people. 

What will it look like in future? / Ka pēhea ā raurangi?

A wider range of primary and community care services will be available across New Zealand, developed to be more inclusive of disabled people. 

A stronger consumer voice in the design of local, community services and planning will give disabled people greater opportunities to help shape a system that better meets their needs and help them stay well in the community. 

The networking and integration of primary and community services will also make care more coordinated, minimising repetition, and ensuring carers have a better understanding of users’ needs. 

Health NZ will create ways to advocate nationally to ensure best practice and service design reflect the diverse interests and needs of disabled people across the system. 

When more specialised care is needed, disabled people will have access to high quality hospital and specialist care no matter where they live in New Zealand or which part of the system they need to access. 

What’s next? / He aha e whai ake nei?

Over the rest of 2021 there will be opportunities to influence the details of how our future health system will work, including how we can ensure that Health NZ acts to continuously improve the quality and consistency of outcomes for disabled people. 

Factsheet: services for disabled people [PDF, 144 KB]

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