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Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is today releasing a strategy to transform the way people who care for a disabled family member are supported.

Transforming Respite is designed to give disabled people and their family members greater choice, control and flexibility when accessing and using respite services.

"Thousands of New Zealanders look after disabled loved ones in their homes. We know this care can put extra pressure on families and, for some, just leaving home can be a major logistical exercise,” Ms Wagner says. “Respite services enable carers to take regular breaks, which is incredibly important for the health and wellbeing of the whole family.”

Development of the strategy included a user survey, engagement with providers and sector groups, release of a draft strategy for disability sector feedback, public workshops, meeting the families of children with complex disabilities, and youth engagement.

"We’ve received some really positive feedback from disabled people and their families about the changes, which include more flexible personal budgets with fewer restrictions, easier administration and payment methods, better access to information about the options available and support to find and use those options."

The Ministry of Health spends about $61 million on disability respite annually.

The respite strategy aligns with the vision and principles of Enabling Good Lives, the Disability Support System transformation, the New Zealand Disability Strategy, the New Zealand Health Strategy, and will achieve key objectives in the NZ Carers’ Strategy Action Plan for 2014-2018.

For a copy of the strategy, visit: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/transforming-respite-disability-support-services-respite-strategy-2017-2022

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