Canberra Health Services Disability Needs Assessment and Action Plan

Subject: Re: Canberra Health Services Disability Needs Assessment and Action Plan
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2020 09:28:06 +1000
From: Bob Buckley (SOfASD Chair) <chair@sofasd.org.au>
Organization: Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Canberra and the Australian Capital TerritoryCT
To: Smith, Josephine (Health) <Josephine.Smith@act.gov.au>
CC: Pratten, Elizabeth (Health) <Elizabeth.Pratten@act.gov.au>



 

Dear Ms Smith

SOfASD takes exception with your assertions that we have "misgivings around the usefulness of government Disability Action Plans specific to people with autism". We do not understand what a "Disability Action Plans specific to people with autism" might be. This is a nonsense phrase. Please do not put nonsense words in our mouth.

A "Disability Action Plan" is for people with disability generally, and is not specific to autistic people ("autistic people" their preferred terminology). CHS and other government agencies in Australia have demonstrated repeatedly that their Disability Action Plans do not recognise or address the needs of autistic citizens. This means that your plan to develop a Disability Action Plan in the ACT will not meet the needs of autistic Canberrans.

We hope that you were not trying to imply that SOfASD has misgivings about an "Autism Action Plan". That would be a gross misrepresentation.

CHS has shown that even in its treatment of subgroups, like people with intellectual disability or people with conduct/behavioural disorders, it does not recognise and address the autism-specific needs of autistic Canberrans.

CHS's CAMHS says it doesn't support people with "Behavioural Disorders", a category that it regards as including Autism Spectrum Disorder. We would love to know more about services and supports that CHS provides for people with Behavioural Disorders, if such things exist in the ACT health system.

SOfASD is disappointed that your response does not recognise SOfASD's concerns that a "Disability Action Plan" will not meet the needs of autistic Canberrans. Instead, your response misrepresents SOfASD's concerns. This reflects poorly on CHS's treatment of stakeholder input.

Bob Buckley

Chair, Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD)

a voice for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the ACT

Please note SOfASD's policy on unanswered questions.

On 19/08/2020 4:59 pm, Smith, Josephine (Health) wrote:

OFFICIAL

 

Dear Mr Buckley,

Thank you for your response, and we appreciate your offer of involvement and discussion.

I acknowledge your misgivings around the usefulness of government Disability Action Plans specific to people with autism. Canberra Health Services will be including stakeholders such as SOfASD in the development of our plan to ensure the needs of all people with a disability interacting with our service are considered. We look forward to your input.

I appreciate you sharing your concerns and updates below. As well as involving stakeholders, as a key part of the Needs Assessment process we will be reviewing relevant reports and briefings, previous initiatives and consumer feedback to inform our plan. We are committed to ensuring this includes consideration of people with autism spectrum disorder.

We will be in touch with you for your input as the Needs Assessment work progresses. However, please feel free to contact me any time.

Kind Regards,

Josephine Smith

Senior Director| Strategy Policy and Planning

Phone: 02 5124 9564 | Email: Josephine.Smith@act.gov.au

Canberra Health Services | ACT Government

10B Canberra Hospital campus | health.act.gov.au

RELIABLE | PROGRESSIVE | RESPECTFUL | KIND

 

From: Bob Buckley (SOfASD Chair) <chair@sofasd.org.au>

Sent: Wednesday, 5 August 2020 3:22 PM

To: Smith, Josephine (Health) <Josephine.Smith@act.gov.au>

Cc: Pratten, Elizabeth (Health) <Elizabeth.Pratten@act.gov.au>

Subject: Re: Canberra Health Services Disability Needs Assessment and Action Plan

 

CAUTION: This email originated from outside of the ACT Government. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognise the sender and know the content is safe.

 

Dear Ms Smith

Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD) would like to "be involved in the development and consultation of the CHS Disability Action Plan".

However, SOfASD is acutely aware that Disability Action Plans created by governments in Australia are particularly unsuccessful in addressing the needs of autistic citizens for a range of reasons, most notably that the distinct and substantial needs of autistic people are not recognised and addressed in such processes, as well as failure to recognise and address increasing service demand resulting from substantially increased numbers of diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder without any planning or effort to increase service delivery for autistic people. In some cases, health services actively exclude autistic people from services.

SOfASD is especially concerned about the outcome of the review that the Mental Health Minister apparently requested from CHS, but that did not happen. The outcome of his request is documented at https://sofasd.org.au/d7/node/232  It shows clearly how easy it is for CHS in a review such as this to just omit consideration of autistic people.

We note that NDIS roll-out ceased in the ACT when there were more autistic people than the ACT Government recognised (under-diagnosis and misinformation about ASD numbers in the ACT are long-standing issues - see https://sofasd.org.au/d7/node/132 and https://sofasd.org.au/d7/node/142).

At the national level, the Senate Select Committee on Autism is currently considering the need for a distinct national autism strategy to complement the National Disability Strategy for these reason. In addition to the NDIS roll-out, Victoria developed a separate plan to specifically address the need of its autistic residents.

We are happy to discuss any of this with you.

--

Bob Buckley

Chair, Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD)

a voice for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the ACT

 

On 5/08/2020 1:56 pm, Smith, Josephine (Health) wrote:

OFFICIAL: Sensitive

 

Dear Mr Buckley,

 

Your name and contact details have been shared with me as a key contact due to your advocacy role for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Your previous feedback to Canberra Health Services (CHS) and the Health Minister has also been shared with me.

 

We want to let you know about work being progressed by CHS to improve health services for people with a disability and their family and carers.     

 

CHS is developing a Disability Action Plan. To ensure this Plan provides meaningful improvements for people with a disability, their families and carers, our first step is to complete a Disability Needs Assessment. The Needs Assessment will look at current CHS health services and barriers experienced by people with a disability when accessing information, services, and facilities. Consumer feedback from people with a disability, their family or carers will be reviewed to identify issues experienced.  The feedback you have previously provided will be reviewed as part of this activity.

 

CHS are also identifying which community and advocacy groups should be involved in the development and consultation of the CHS Disability Action Plan. As part of this process, we would like to include Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD) to ensure the needs of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder are considered and incorporated.   

 

In addition to the work on the Disability Action Plan, we are working with the Office for Disability in the Community Services Directorate to improve health service provision to people with a disability. This includes investigating opportunities to have disability advocates from ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service and Advocacy for Inclusion available to support consumers at CHS sites such as the Canberra Hospital, University of Canberra Hospital and Community Health Centres.

 

If you would like to chat about any of the above, prior to us commencing consultation on the Disability Needs Assessment and Action Plan, please don’t hesitate to contact me via return email or on 5124 9564. We are happy to meet with you as well, if you would like.

 

I’ve also cc’d Liz Pratten from our team into this email. She is leading this work in our team.

 

Regards

 

Josephine Smith

Senior Director| Strategy Policy and Planning

Phone: 02 5124 9564 | Email: Josephine.Smith@act.gov.au

Canberra Health Services | ACT Government

10B Canberra Hospital campus | health.act.gov.au

RELIABLE | PROGRESSIVE | RESPECTFUL | KIND

 

 

 

 

 

 

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