MIL-OSI Submissions: Politics and Health – Government report ignores our most vulnerable – IHC

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Source: IHC

IHC New Zealand is dismayed that a new Government report, billed as a “nationwide picture of the population’s health,” ignores the 47,000 people with intellectual disability in New Zealand.

Te Whata Ora Health New Zealand’s Health Status Report acknowledges that significant inequities in health outcomes exist, but it doesn’t delve any deeper.

IHC Director of Advocacy Tania Thomas says it’s critical that intellectually disabled people, who experience the worst outcomes of all New Zealanders, are counted.

“It has been 13 years since the Government has adequately reported on the health indicators people with intellectual disabilities, and that data was collected in 2008,” says Tania. “That report told us that the life expectancy gap between the general population and intellectually disabled people was a staggering 23 years.”

In 2023, IHC released a groundbreaking report to fill in the gaps and better understand how to improve and advocate for better health outcomes for this vulnerable population.

“For the first time we have a life expectancy rate not just for the intellectually disabled population, but for the Māori intellectually disabled population,” says Tania. “The life expectancy for a Māori man with intellectual disability is just 62, and for women it’s 63. It’s a travesty that this is below retirement age.

“It’s time for the Government to highlight, prioritise and address the unfairness of health provision in this country.”