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Disability Strategy

The Te Whatu Ora Southern Disability Strategy describes the vision and goals we will follow to provide equitable health and disability services throughout the Southern district. 

The Disability Working Group is responsible for developing an Action Plan that will ensure the goals and actions will be achieved.


Our current Action Plan priorities are:


  1. All projects set up to develop, design, review new processes, policies, or to oversee these etc. must have consumer representation on the project group, including at least one member of the disabled community.
  2. Engagement with and accommodations for the disabled community will be assessed through the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Consumer Engagement Quality & Safety Marker.
  3. Review Te Whatu Ora Southern’s website, including recruitment systems and make recommendations on improvements needed to achieve Accessibility Charter accreditation.
  4. Continue to develop Te Whatu Ora Southern digital systems recording and use of relevant data including alerts about consumers’ needs and any documents they have in place, so that information is flagged to and accessible by administrative and clinical staff and services can be provided in the most appropriate way.
  5. Extensively increased uptake of staff disability awareness training, with opportunities for all staff members
  6. Increase numbers of disabled staff and support provided
  7. Disability Working Group to contact groups working in the Health and Disability Sector to ensure that their members can obtain the relevant information.
  8. Disability Working Group to identify, through the sector engagement, any gaps in the provision of necessary information.
  9. Clinicians to engage with patients, family and whānau early during the patient’s stay in hospital so that they are involved in all aspects of the patient’s care from admission to discharge and after – including being provided with information, in the appropriate format for the period post-discharge.
  10. Disability Working Group to ensure that Te Whatu Ora Southern has an up to date directory of community groups that can support consumers, family and whānau that is available to both consumers and clinicians.
  11. Disability Working Group, working with Te Whatu Ora Southern’s Organisational Development team, will develop practical guides on key areas of need. 
  12. Disability Working Group will carry out accessibility audits of Te Whatu Ora Southern facilities.
  13. Patient stories telling the stories of patients within Southern who have disabilities and are consumers of healthcare services are created and accessible by staff and used as learning tools.

Southern DHB Disability Strategy (PDF)
Southern DHB Disability Strategy (Easy Read Version)
Southern DHB Disability Strategy (Word)


Summary of the strategy:

In English (PDF)
In Te Reo Māori (PDF)
In Word format (docx)

Braille: Copies of the summary in Braille are available upon request.
Please email: 

NZSL Summary: 

Email for further enquiries.


Disability Strategy Forums  

Four times per year, we hold a Disability Strategy Quarterly Forum, where we update the Community on our work. These are usually at the end of January, April, July and October. To be added to the mailing list for this, please contact

Recordings of past forums can be found below. 





Disability Strategy News and Updates