Conference theme

Me mahi tahi tātou. Achieving equity in rehabilitation

Some of you may have noticed our conference theme has changed from ‘Enhancing Equity’ to ‘Achieving Equity’. As part of developing the conference programme, we had a conversation with Māori health and pro-equity consultant who reminded us that equity either exists or it does not. We cannot ‘enhance equity’ when it does not exist. Instead, when inequities are present, there is a requirement to work to achieve equity. The Waitangi Tribunal, in the 2019 WAI2575 report states: “achieving equitable health outcomes should be the kaupapa, or central purpose, of the health system”

We all know there is clear evidence of many inequities in access, experience, and outcomes in rehabilitation - inequities that have very real effects on those who access, or would benefit from access to rehabilitation. Our previous wording of ‘Enhancing Equity’ minimises, if not hides, these inequities.

Because of this, we are changing our theme to ‘Achieving Equity’.

The conference theme has emerged out of ongoing discussions within the NZRA Executive and membership about the need to intentionally work to provide rehabilitation services that are empowering, accessible and equitable within Aotearoa NZ. We want to take the opportunity to address problems with inequity in our health sector – inequities that relate to culture, ethnicity, wealth, disability, funding and geography. As such, we envision this conference as a gathering space for innovative engagement and dialogue that focuses on health-optimising solutions within rehabilitation service delivery.

The conference theme also aligns with recommendations outlined in the NZ Health and Disability Review (2020) and the Whakamaua Māori Health Action Plan (2020). As overviewed in the Whakamaua Māori Health Action Plan, enabling Māori health and wellbeing aspirations remains a condition for achieving pae ora (healthy futures) – wai ora (healthy environments), whānau ora (healthy families) and mauri ora (healthy individuals). Rehabilitation funders, providers, clinicians and researchers need to continue to work together to, and to share ideas, so that pae ora becomes a reality for the many Māori who currently do not receive equitable access to rehabilitation services or achieve equitable outcomes.