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Message from the Chair

Dear Members and Colleagues,

Promoting equitable access to health and wellbeing services in the ACT is one of WWDACT’s priority areas under its Strategic Plan. Yet in order to effectively represent the health needs of women with disabilities it is essential to have knowledge about our health status, health needs, and how we access services, supports and information. Whilst all women have health concerns that relate to gender and the roles we play in family and society, as women with disabilities, we have additional concerns which are related to how our individual disabilities interact with, and therefore impact on, our overall health and wellbeing. So we have considerably more to juggle and pay for.

WWDACT will soon be able to release the findings of a general survey conducted by the Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM). Eighty respondents to this ACT-wide survey disclosed that they have disability, and a dedicated analysis on these responses is nearly ready. We will be reporting in coming weeks on what you told us and the actions that we will take as a result.

One of WWDACT’s concerns is that the cost of doctor visits remains one of the significant barriers to good health care. The ACT still has the lowest bulk billing rate in the country, more than 20 percentage points below the national average, so finding a GP that you can afford is a challenge.

We want to avoid visits to GPs, specialists and allied health professionals as much as possible. So to maintain our health and wellbeing, the challenge is to find activities which are no-cost or low cost, located in venues we can reach relatively easily and cheaply, which are conducted by people who understand the restrictions placed on our participation by our disabilities, and hopefully, find exercise-mates who make the experience a fun one. Fulfilling those criteria is a challenge in itself. The gym at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, the new Hydrotherapy Pool at UC Hospital, and other UC fitness services provided by students are all things that we can make use of.

WWDACT would be interested to know of the recreational or health activities that you have found that meet one or all of the above criteria. We can share this information to improve our access keeping well.

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Sue Salthouse