Monitoring and tracking inequalities between people with and without disability in Australia

  • The CRE-DH has developed the Disability and Wellbeing Monitoring Framework and Indicators, in consultation with people with lived experience of disability. It will be used to identify and track inequalities by comparing measures of health status and exposure to social determinants of health between people with and without disability.
  • The Framework has 19 domains grouped into three elements: Health and wellbeing, Social determinants and the Service system. Each domain has one or more topics, within which relevant indicators are specified.
  • Work is underway to report indicator data for Australians aged 15-64 years with and without disability. This will provide a basis for identifying policy priorities and monitoring progress on reducing inequalities and improving health and wellbeing for people with disability into the future.
  • Australian national data sources that include a disability identifier are available to report on 73% of the 128 indicators in the Framework.
  • For some indicators, there is no national data source (e.g., experience of bullying and harassment); for others, there is a national data source but with no disability identifier (e.g., hospitalisation for injury and poisoning).
  • Where we lack national data that include a disability identifier, it is not possible to quantify inequalities between Australians with and without disability, track change over time, or identify factors that can inform effective policy responses for indicators.
  • In many national data sources, certain groups of people with disability are inadequately represented. The two main reasons for this are: (i) national surveys commonly exclude people who live in Very Remote Areas, discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and non-private dwellings (e.g., boarding houses, nursing homes, group homes for people with disability); (ii) people who are not able to answer survey questions themselves may not be included in survey data.
  • By highlighting data gaps, the framework will have an important role to play in focusing efforts to improve national data on people with disability and thus strengthen the evidence base to inform policy action.
  • Inequality between people with and without disability in relation to health and the social determinants of health is a public health issue that warrants greater attention than it has received to date. The Framework provides a robust, evidence-informed tool to address the health inequalities of people with disability, inform the development of effective policy and practice responses, and monitor change over time.

    Fortune N, Badland H, Clifton S, Emerson E, Rachele J, Stancliffe RJ, Zhou Q, Llewellyn G 2020. The Disability and Wellbeing Monitoring Framework: data, data gaps, and policy implications.  Disabil Health J 2020: 20 Apr. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2016.05.011