Disability Royal Commission – Health Care

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The first hearing of 2020 for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability starts today in Sydney. The public hearing will be focusing on the provision of health care for people with cognitive disability including people with intellectual disability, autism and acquired brain injuries.

The voices and experiences of people with disability are at the centre of this Royal Commission. We also anticipate hearing from medical practitioners and other experts as well as from relevant advocacy groups and government departments. – Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC

Some of the issues the hearing will explore in the next two weeks include:

  • barriers faced by people with cognitive disability when accessing and receiving health care and services, including barriers to communication and health professionals’ attitudes, values and assumptions
  • training and education of health professionals with respect to patients with cognitive disability
  • delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses of people with cognitive disability
  • life expectancy of people with cognitive disability
  • specific issues for First Nations people with cognitive disability with respect to health care and services.


The Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC said the hearing is expected to gather evidence from people with cognitive disability, their families and supporters about their experiences in the health care system.

We may be investigating some cases where tragically people have died as a result of inadequate treatment through the health system.

The Royal Commission released an issues paper Health care for people with cognitive disability.

The issues paper aims to increase the Royal Commission’s understanding of key lines of inquiry and provide an opportunity for people with disability as well as advocates, supporters, experts and organisations to have their say.

This Royal Commission offers an opportunity to examine whether Australia can do more to realise the rights of people with disability and to promote a more inclusive society.

The deadline for responses to the Health care for people with cognitive disability issues paper is 20 March 2020, but responses will be accepted after that date.

People or organisations with a special interest in the hearing (including if they are subject to evidence given at the hearing) may apply for Leave to Appear via the DRC website.

Easy Read information about attending the hearing has been provided by the DRC – [PDF | Word].