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Canberra Health Services to improve services for persons with disabilities

Smiling father sitting next to disabled son in wheelchair by hospital bed, talking together

The Canberra Health Services Disability Action and Inclusion Plan 2022-2025 guides how Canberra Health Services will improve its services for people living with a disability. The Plan also sets out how Canberra Health Services can further enhance its workplaces to support, include and encourage team members with disabilities.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the ACT Government is deeply committed to improving the way public health services meets the individual needs of consumers and staff.

“Ideas and feedback from people with lived experience have been key in developing the Disability Action and Inclusion Plan. Canberra Health Services worked in close partnership with people with disability, carers and families, staff and the community to identify actions that will address barriers and promote inclusivity.

“This ensures the Plan includes meaningful actions that reflect the needs of people with disability – both those accessing health care and those who work at Canberra Health Services,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

The Plan includes actions across four key focus areas:

  • Our consumers, their families and carers – ensuring our services are accessible and inclusive for all
  • Our people – we strive for the inclusion of people with disability by creating a psychologically safe culture through increased disability awareness, education and the provision of reasonable adjustments
  • Our place – we remove barriers in our facilities, systems and processes to ensure that people with disability, their families and carers are able to easily and efficiently access services and opportunities within CHS
  • Our community – we are part of the community and ensure the voices of people with disability of all ages, their families and carers, are heard and included.

Actions in the Plan include partnering with advocacy or community organisations to develop training for frontline members on supporting people with disability, their families and carers during the consumer journey. Canberra Health Services will also review recruitment policies and procedures to identify and remove barriers for potential employees with disability.

The Plan also includes actions from the National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability and supports the ACT Disability Strategy and the ACT Disability Health Strategy which are currently being developed.

“The Disability Action and Inclusion Plan will strengthen the care provided by Canberra Health Services. I am looking forward to seeing a continued collaboration between patients, staff, and the wider community in making Canberra’s health services and accessible and inclusive as they can be,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

Quotes attributable to Renée Heaton, Chair of the ACT Disability Reference Group: Canberra Health Services has done a tremendous job in the development of their first ever Disability Action and Inclusion Plan.

This is a big piece of work and CHS worked hard to ensure that the experiences and needs of people with disability were front and centre. Achieving inclusion takes deliberate action, it doesn’t happen passively.

The CHS DAIP clearly sets out those actions that they will undertake not just as health service providers, but also as an employer, and as contributors to the Canberra community.

These actions directly will impact the lives of Canberrans with disability and range from things like improving physical access to buildings and premises, through to asking about and knowing how to implement reasonable adjustment for health consumers and their own employees.

All these actions will collectively lead to better service provision for people with disability that focuses on their individual needs and supports them to be active and informed participants in their healthcare.

To view the Disability Action and Inclusion Plan, go to

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