Media release:NZ Health Strategy promises a better deal for people with intellectual disabilities

Media release

18 April 2016

NZ Health Strategy promises a better deal for people with intellectual disabilities


IHC welcomes today’s announcement of the NZ Health Strategy and is particularly pleased to see that action is being taken to improve the health of people with intellectual disabilities.

IHC Director of Advocacy, Trish Grant, says, “Updating the health strategy to take some action to improve the health of people with intellectual disabilities is long overdue.”

The NZ Health Strategy has recognised that people with intellectual disability are a priority population group when it comes needing access to quality healthcare. The Strategy states that disabled people generally experience worse health than the rest of the population.

“People with intellectual disability can expect to live 18-23 fewer years than the rest of the New Zealand population. IHC has advocated over many years for actions to address the disparities in access to healthcare and in health outcomes experienced by people with intellectual disability”, says Trish Grant.

“As a population group people with intellectual disabilities experience high levels of unmet health need, high rates of polypharmacy and difficulties in being included in health promotion activities and screening programmes.”

IHC is actively involved in current Ministry of Health work to improve health outcomes for people with intellectual disability.

“It’s been a long time coming to get a commitment to undertake this work. We look forward to this being translated into meaningful and sustained changes so that all New Zealanders get well, stay well and live well”, says Trish Grant.




Media contact:

Gina Rogers

National Manager Communications 

021 388 208


About IHC New Zealand

IHC was founded in 1949 by a small group of parents who wanted equal treatment from the education and health systems for their children with intellectual disabilities. The IHC of today is still striving for these same rights and is committed to principles of advocating for the rights, welfare and inclusion of all people with an intellectual disability. We support people with an intellectual disability to lead satisfying lives and have a genuine place in the community.

We have more than 5500 staff working to support 7000 people in services that include residential care, supported living, vocational support, respite care, and New Zealand’s largest non-government social housing provider. We also lobby and advocate for the human rights of all people with an intellectual disability at both a national and an international level. We raise money and awareness of the issues facing people with intellectual disabilities through our charitable activities, including an extensive advocacy programme, a one-to-one volunteer programme and the country’s largest specialist intellectual disability library.