National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability

This roadmap aims to address serious health inequities faced by people with intellectual disability. It outlines how we can create a health system where people with intellectual disability are valued, respected and have access to high quality, timely and comprehensive health care.

✔  The roadmap is also available to read in Easy Read format.

Why we need a roadmap to improve the health of people with intellectual disability

There are approximately 450,000 people with intellectual disability in Australia.

People with intellectual disability deserve access to high quality health care that meets their needs and supports them to lead healthy and active lives.

Compared with the general population, people with intellectual disability experience:

  • more than twice the rate of avoidable deaths
  • twice the rate of emergency department and hospital admissions
  • substantially higher rates of physical and mental health conditions, and
  • significantly lower rates of preventive healthcare.

People with intellectual disability deserve access to high quality health care that meets their needs and supports them to lead healthy and active lives.

The roadmap outlines what needs to happen in the short, medium, and long term to develop a health system where people with intellectual disability are valued, respected and have access to high quality, timely and comprehensive health care.

Objectives of the roadmap

The objectives of the roadmap are to:

  • improve support for people with intellectual disability, their families and carers
  • develop better models of care for people with intellectual disability
  • support health professionals to deliver quality care for people with intellectual disability
  • improve the oral health of people with intellectual disability
  • improve monitoring of the health of people with intellectual disability, and
  • ensure that the needs of people with intellectual disability are considered and met in emergency plans and responses.

Collaborative development, collaborative action

The roadmap has been informed by detailed consultations with stakeholders, including people with intellectual disability, family members and other carers. It incorporates many of the recommendations and proposed actions they put forward.

This is a collaborative approach to address the needs of people with intellectual disability. It will require commitment and cooperation between the Australian Government, state and territory governments, educational institutions, health care providers and professionals, and other stakeholders. It also requires engagement directly with people with intellectual disability, their families and carers, and support workers.

The Department of Health will establish a governance group to oversee implementation of the roadmap. This will involve:

  • people with intellectual disability
  • families and carers of people with intellectual disability
  • representatives from the health and disability sectors
  • representatives of universities, professional colleges, accreditation and registration bodies, and
  • Commonwealth and state and territory government representatives.

Measures funded under the roadmap

The Australian Government is investing $19.3 million in initial funding for a number of priority actions identified in the roadmap, including:

  • $6.6 million to develop a Primary Care Enhancement Program for People with Intellectual Disability
  • $6.7 million to improve implementation of annual health assessments for people with intellectual disability
  • $4.7 million for curriculum development in intellectual disability health, and
  • $1.4 million to scope and co-design a National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health.

Roadmap as part of the 10 Year Plan

The roadmap will form part of the Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan. The roadmap will also support health and wellbeing outcomes under Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031, which is due to be released later this year.

Last updated: 
13 August 2021
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