Date Published: 21 March 2007

NZ Ministry of Health holds talks with disability consumers

Health News from New Zealand.

A series of meetings about Ministry of Health funded disability support services are being held around New Zealand over the next 12 weeks.

A total of 25 fora and hui begin on Thursday 22 March and finish up in Picton in mid-June.

Deputy Director-General of Disability Services Geraldine Woods says the meetings provide a chance for disabled people, their families and whanau to talk to us about the services we fund and give us their ideas for the future provision of our funded services.

" Following last year's meetings, we produced a report on the issues and concerns our service users raised. We have used this information to help shape the work we do."

She said that concerns came under four key themes: the choice and availability of services, support for families, the disability sector workforce and accessible information. Disability Services staff have been working to come up with actions to address those concerns. For example, an advisory group of disabled people, the Consumer Consortium, meets twice a year to provide advice on what the Ministry needs to be doing to improve our services.

" Some of our clients told us that there is lack of choice for disabled people in deciding what services they need and also being able to choose where to get it from. So, as a result, we are reviewing the way we provide funding to individuals to see how we can make it easier for people to do this. Individualised funding is now being provided to some of our clients in Auckland, the Waikato and Taranaki."

Geraldine Woods says last year's meetings around the country attracted between 600 and 700 people and this year we're making it even more accessible to people, by visiting the main centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and also holding meetings in 14 other smaller centres, including Timaru, Westport, New Plymouth, Northland, Wairarapa, Gisborne, Rotorua and Tauranga.

" We know it's important to reach as many of our service users as possible to ensure our workplan reflects what disabled people want to enable them to participate as others do in their home and community. We do listen and we do want to talk to as many people as possible who use our services. In the main centres we also plan on holding two meetings, one during business hours and one in the evening, to reach as many people as possible."

Ms Woods is inviting people keen to register for one of the meetings to go to the Ministry of Health website - or call free on 0800 373 664 or email You can also turn up on the day.

Meetings will be held in the following areas -

  • Dunedin hui - Thursday 22 March
  • Dunedin - Thursday 22 March (evening) Friday 23 March (daytime)
  • Christchurch (2 fora) - Thursday 29 March
  • Timaru - Friday 30 March
  • Blenheim - Tuesday 3 April
  • Westport - Thursday 26 April
  • Greymouth - Friday 27 April
  • Palmerston North - Thursday 3 May
  • New Plymouth - Friday 4 May
  • Hamilton (2 fora) Wednesday 9 May
  • Auckland (2 fora) - Thursday 10 May
  • Whangarei - Friday 11 May
  • Masterton - Friday 18 May
  • Tauranga - Tuesday 22 May
  • Gisborne hui - Wednesday 23 May
  • Rotorua hui - Tuesday 29 May
  • Hamilton hui - Wednesday 30 May
  • Auckland hui - Thursday 7 June
  • Kaitaia hui - Friday 8 June
  • Wellington (2 fora) - Tuesday 12 June
  • Picton hui - Thursday 14 June


Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health (NZ).

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