Forum on Health and Disability

By Lance Girling-Butcher

We live in such fast-changing times that it is easy to understand how many, particularly seniors, are getting left behind.

Just think of the last time you went looking for a post box, or even a post office.

Another area where things seem to disappear or change out of recognition is public dealings with Government departments.

Not only does what they do change, even their names are altered with increasing frequency.   

To assist and ensure that natural justice is done when things go wrong a number of organisations and commissions have been set up.  

One of the best known of these is the Ombudsman’s office but there are a number of others.

To catch up with these changes, New Plymouth Positive Ageing is running a series of seminars under the banner, Everything You Need to Know But Do Not Like To Ask.

The first of these will be a free seminar in the New Plymouth District Council chambers on February 27.

This will deal with the work of the Health and Disability Commission and it’s not particularly well-known staff in New Plymouth.

Housed in a rather-hard-to-find office upstairs in central New Plymouth Karen Angland and Renee Manella offer guidance and advice on a range of issues that should be of interest to all.

Karen commenced with Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service in 2011.  A former role as a research assistant for WA Cancer and Palliative Care saw her working on projects focused on service provision, what worked or didn’t, and what quality improvements could be implemented.

This allowed people across all sectors in health and disability to have a voice about care and treatment, and she feels her advocate role has enabled her to continue to support people to do so.

She has a partner, two adult children and tries to keep involved in their lives fully.  She likes to keep fit, and is a keen (but not very skilled) swimmer, runner and cyclist.

Renee came to the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service from marketing and communications and more than a decade of disability support work.  

A recent Social Policy graduate, she is passionate about rights-based disability and healthcare and loves encouraging people to speak up.  Renee has two young children whom she uses as her excuse to go on water slides, dress up, crazy dance, go to kids movies and read Harry Potter.    

They will be joined by DHB Facilitator, Kym Noske

He will describe how you can have control of your future health care needs and what treatment and care options may be available.

He says that Advanced Care planning is a shared ongoing process that has your personal, cultural and values at the centre of the process.

There is no doubt that the best known activity of the Health and Disability Commission is the startling and even frightening reports on misadventure in our health system. Horrifying details of operations and diagnoses that go horribly wrong stand out in the media.

The inquiry in to the mental health situation was also a headline catcher.

The forum is on February 27 and starts at 10am with 30 minutes for morning tea. A bus will run, as usual, from the racecourse for those who have mobility problems or difficulties find a car park. This will leave the racecourse at 9.30am and return at noon.

Photo caption: Lance Girling-Butcher. Source: Blind Foundation