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People with intellectual or cognitive disability often have more complex health needs and a higher mortality rate than the general population. They can also face significant barriers to accessing appropriate health care as well as experiencing poorer overall health due to poverty and social exclusion.

As a result, systemic issues such as a lack of appropriate support (including support to access health care and appropriate responses by health care providers), and poor coordination between disability and health services, can result in poor outcomes for people with disability. For some, this includes the risk of premature death.

The Public Advocate’s report Upholding the right to life and health: A review of the deaths in care of people with disability in Queensland, focussed on the deaths in care of people with disability in Queensland between 2009 and 2014. The report was tabled in the Queensland Parliament on 16 March 2016.

The report made a series of recommendations aimed at reducing the deaths of people with disability in care. A summary of the report and its recommendations was also published.

The Public Advocate is continuing to advocate for changes to improve the accessibility, integration and responsiveness of mainstream health services to meet the needs of people with impaired decision-making ability.