Summary & Key Learning Points

The emphasis now placed on the full inclusion of persons with disabilities and on anti- discrimination has provided an important backdrop to the development of more inclusive health services for persons with disabilities. The demands of persons with disabilities, disabled persons’ organizations, their advocates and families for better quality and more accessible and appropriate services has challenged service providers to consider how services can be mainstreamed and how the integration and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all areas of society can be promoted and supported. This also reflects a greater understanding and awareness of the experience of persons with disabilities in accessing health services and of the impact of disabling barriers on their independence, autonomy, health and well-being. As a result, health service providers have had to address the issues of consultation with and participation of persons with disability in planning and service delivery.

Substantial action needs to be taken by all stakeholders in order to realize the mainstreaming of health service provision, the reorientation of health services towards a social model of disability, and the inclusion of people with disabilities not only as active participants in their health care but in strategic decisions regarding the funding and planning of health care services.