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Renewed call to address healthcare gaps for people with intellectual disabilities

Female doctor consulting patient at the desk in hospital

Professor Julian Trollor, who exposed the gaps in healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities, is giving evidence to a Royal Commission. 

Professor Trollor’s research has focused on exposing the gaps in healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities in Australia and on translating research findings into solutions to this problem.

“Poor access to healthcare across the lifespan of people with an intellectual disabilities ultimately results in premature death for many people with intellectual disability,” Professor Trellor says.

“Our research indicates that the average age of death for an adult cohort with intellectual disability in NSW was 27 years lower than that of the general population, and that the rate of death in people with intellectual disabilities was four times higher than the general population for people aged 20 to 45 years.”

The group’s research showed that causes of death in people with intellectual disabilities included respiratory, circulatory, neoplasm and nervous system problems, and has identified key risk factors contributing to the deaths.

“The sad reality is that the excess mortality among people with intellectual disabilities could have been potentially avoidable by better medical care,” Professor Trollor says.

Professor Trollor advocates for the development of a national population health strategy. He has also been working on initiatives to develop reasonable adjustments, provision of health information, improved health services and service models, training for future doctors and nurses, improving the capacity and skills of the current workforce, developing specialist workforce for people with more complex needs, with a particular focus on the mental health sector.

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