Disability sector disappointed health system shake-up won't give them their own authority

New Zealand's disability healthcare processes could be in for a major shake-up as part of the Government's review of the country's health system.

The review found the current system doesn't serve those with disabilities well and needs to be simplified.

Rachel Anderson-Smith has three disabilities, and she's found the health system only adds to her pain.

"It's been really challenging to make sure they don't confuse me with another patient, and I have to tell my story over and over again," Anderson-Smith told Newshub.

She hopes those problems will be addressed, following a major review.

"Disability is incredibly important in terms of our health and disability sector," Health Minister David Clark said.

While the Minister can't say which recommendations will be implemented, he says he's keen for the health and disability sector to employ more people with disabilities.

But while the review calls for a separate health authority for Māori, the disability sector has been left disappointed there isn't something similar for them.

"We recognise Māori need their own health response but similarly so do disabled people," CCS Disability Action CEO David Mathews said.

IHC advocacy director Trish Grant agrees, and says it "would be really good" to have a disability authority or commission to guarantee a strong focus and improved outcomes.

But she's pleased the report highlights major shortfalls on data collection.

"We have very poor data on people with disabilities," Heather Simpson said.

And the emphasis on improving the digital side of health is also welcomed.

"What we've got to be able to drive is what we've seen during COVID-19 - a whole move to virtual healthcare," NZ Health IT CEO Scott Arrell said.

Those in the disability sector hoping these changes will see a move towards a better healthcare system for them.