6 May 2019

Is the Health Ministry cutting disability services by stealth?

From Nine To Noon, 9:33 am on 6 May 2019
parking place reserved for disabled person

Photo: 123RF

Disability advocates say planned massive funding cuts to disability services may have been averted but disabled people and their families are still being questioned over every hour of support they receive and routinely face cuts or delays. Last month OIA documents showed the Health Ministry was planning to cut up to $10 million from disability support services by June, with a further $20 million in cuts planned for the next financial year, in the face of a $90 million deficit. It's understood government Ministers intervened to stop the cuts.

Chief Executive of the Disability Support Network Dr Garth Bennie says the cuts may have been stopped for now, but the reality is that the Health Ministry is constantly looking for ways to ration disability support services, and he says the funding shortfall is at least $150 million - on top of the $90 million current deficit.

Garth Bennie, Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero and the Director-General of Health, Ashley Blomfield join Kathryn Ryan.