Barby Singer was delighted to be able to represent TRACS WA at the International Day of People with Disability 2021 event co-hosted by the Disability Health Network and South Metro Health Service. The event was very well attended, both in person and online (see picture).

Disability Picture FSH
Co-Leads of the Disability Health Network (Stephanie Coates and Jocelyn Franciscus – pictured) provided an overview of DHN’s achievements in 2021 which include an update of the Disability Health Framework 2015-2025, the launch of a consultation on the Hospital Stay Guidelines, and their contribution to the Disabilities Health Pathway developed by WA Primary Health Alliance.

Four inspirational speakers told their stories of living with disability including recovering from a traumatic amputation to become an Olympic Gold Medallist in wheelchair basketball (Brad Ness), and becoming only the second medical graduate with quadriplegia in Australia (Dinesh Palipana). Both of these speakers reported that their disabilities gave them opportunities that they might never have had otherwise, and spoke movingly about the ‘heroes’ who had supported their journey.

Elaine Ashurst reflected on whether her mental health condition made her ‘disabled’ and concluded that, at times, it certainly had. She is a passionate advocate for including people with lived experience in the planning and delivery of mental health services and is a member of the Fremantle Hospital MH Consumer Advisory Group.

Finally, David Carrington is deaf blind and has worked for Department of Communities for over 20 years providing advice on accessible housing. He reminded us that ‘ergonomic design’ makes the lived environment better for everyone and that ‘smart technology’ is revolutionizing the lives of people with disability, and those without!

This annual event provides a great opportunity to hear the voices of people with disability and celebrate their achievements, as well as informing ourselves of what we, as health clinicians, can do to improve their interactions with health services.