Media Release: Disabled Persons Assembly welcomes news DSS future to be considered separately following health system restructure

The Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) welcomes the acknowledgment by Minister Andrew Little today that Disability Support Services (DSS) are not solely a health issue and that the future of DSS remains under review.

“We hope the announcement that more work is being done and that decisions on the future of DSS will be made in September will result in truly transformative change,” DPA Chief Executive Prudence Walker says.

“When the Health and Disability System Review came out we were hugely disappointed that it did not adequately address the concerns and needs of the disabled community.

“We were pleased to hear that acknowledged by Minister Little today.”

Disabled people face inequity in all areas than our society and fare than non-disabled people across many areas including employment, income, education, housing, and health. 

“Minister Little’s acknowledgment that Disability Support Services are not a health issue, but that they span the full range of social issues that any community faces gives us hope that disabled people’s call for a separate authority to deliver disability services has been heard,” Ms Walker says.

“Disabled people have long said that Disability Support Services do not belong within health and that a separate authority to deliver disability services is needed. An authority led  by disabled people who have the expertise and commitment to be able to make the changes needed to enable disabled people to live good lives.

“We welcome the news that advice on the future of DSS will include further work with the disabled community and the advice developed as part of the machinery of government review of DSS.”

“Our hope is that this is the beginning of disabled people now being truly listened to. 

“Disabled people have put a significant amount of time, effort and expertise into designing a transformed disability support system. Trials of a transformed system responding to the principles of , ‘Enabling Good Lives’, have been running for years now in Waikato, Christchurch and the MidCentral area. 

“These trials have shown that support can be completely different for disabled people. 

“What is more, if disability support is separated from health, then hopefully we can have a health system that focuses on removing barriers disabled people face to health services. This needs to start with the collection of health data for disabled people, which Minister Little acknowledged today is currently missing.

“If the Government get this right, this would be life changing for disabled people.”