Intellectual Disability Health Core Capabilities - Consultation Survey

Closed 27 Jan 2023

Opened 22 Nov 2022

Feedback updated 9 Aug 2023

We asked

The department asked for feedback about the core capabilities to support the Intellectual Disability Health Capability Framework (framework) in an open consultation from 22 November 2022 – 27 January 2023.  The proposed framework for consultation included the following capabilities:

  • Intellectual Disability Awareness
  • Communication
  • Quality Evidence- Based Clinical Care
  • Coordination and Collaboration
  • Decision-Making and Consent
  • Responsible, Safe and Ethical Practice.

We asked whether people thought the framework and the core capabilities address the key areas for health students’ knowledge and practice. We also asked people to comment on the content and detail covered by each of the six capabilities.

You said

Ninety-three submissions to the open consultation were received from a range of stakeholders including individuals, health services, peak bodies, education providers, and groups representing and serving those with intellectual disabilities. A breakdown of responses is as follows:

  • 22 responses from individuals/consumers
  • 37 responses from organisations
  • 34 responses from section/teams within an organisation

The results showed that overall, 77% of respondents agreed that the capability areas capture the key capabilities. The level of agreement by specific capability area ranged from 63% (Intellectual Disability Awareness) to 74% (Responsible, Safe and Ethical Practice). Submissions also proposed changes to terminology, and identified gaps in capabilities, areas where more emphasis was required, and clarification was needed. Feedback also identified potential learning outcomes and implementation ideas for the framework.

We did

Feedback has been recorded and will be used to futher develop the framework. All submissions have been reviewed and amendments have been made to capabilities as appropriate. The following significant changes were made: 

The addition of two new capabilities 

  • Appropriate assessment (Quality Evidence-Informed Health Care). Employ appropriate assessment procedures and tools to inform diagnosis of health conditions, with an awareness that modified diagnostic criteria and reasonable adjustments may be required for assessment of people with intellectual disability. 
  • Safe and quality practices (Responsible, Safe and Ethical Practice). Provide a safe health care environment for people with intellectual disability and apply knowledge of the risks that may be associated with accessing health care to inform safe service provision.  

Key wording changes 

  • ‘Adapt communication’ will replace ‘person’s preferred language and communication style and adapted communication’ to clarify the description and emphasise adaptation of communication. 
  • ‘Communicate to reassure’ will replace ‘communicate about safety’ to clarify the intent of the description, which is focused on communicating to provide a sense of control and comfort. 
  • ‘Evidence-informed practice’ will replace ‘evidence-based practice’ to recognise other types of evidence, including lived experience.  
  • ‘Partnership’ rather than ‘inclusion’ in care will be used to describe respectful involvement where both parties are equal participants in care with a minimised power differential. 
  • ‘Where at all possible, non-restrictive techniques’ will replace ‘least restrictive’ to highlight that any restrictive practice is a last resort.​ 
  • ‘Responsible prescribing’ will replace ‘over prescribing’ to include inappropriate prescribing, lack of prescribing, or prescribing older drugs when newer ones should be used.​ 
  • ‘Collaborate with other professionals’ will replace ‘intra- and interdisciplinary collaboration’ to simplify the capability and be inclusive of community and other service networks and providers. 
  • ‘Continuity in care during transitions’ will replace ‘transitions in care’ to include continuity in care and emphasise the importance of effective handovers and collaboration between health professionals. 

Following the open consultation process, a modified Delphi method will be conducted with key stakeholders to reach consensus on the core capabilities. A futher public consultation will be undertaken in September 2023 to seek feedback on the draft framework document.

We appreciate all the interest and expertise shared throughout the consultation phase and thank all stakeholders who prepared a submission.


The Department of Health and Aged Care (the Department) is leading the Intellectual Disability Health Curriculum Development Project, a short-term action under the National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability. A key component of the project is the development of an Intellectual Disability Health Capability Framework (the Framework) in collaboration with people with intellectual disability, their families, carers and support workers, accreditation authorities, universities, health professionals and academic experts.

The purpose of the Framework is to set out clear capabilities and learning outcomes regarding health care for people with intellectual disability. The Framework will also include implementation guidelines and resources to support universities to integrate intellectual disability health care principles into their current pre-registration education curricula. The ultimate aim is to prepare graduates with the required capabilities to provide the highest quality care to people with intellectual disability throughout their future health professional careers. The Framework will also aim to support accreditation authorities to integrate these capabilities within health professional accreditation standards in future review cycles.

The draft intellectual disability health core capabilities have been developed by the Department, in collaboration with an expert drafting group. To date, the draft capabilities have been informed by:

  • focus groups with people with intellectual disability, their families, carers and support workers, and academic, accreditation and clinical experts
  • a survey with academic, accreditation and clinical experts, and 
  • discussions with the projects Education and Training Expert Advisory Group.

Why your views matter

The Department is inviting interested stakeholders to participate in the first open consultation on the draft intellectual disability health core capabilities. We consider your views to be imperative to the development process and the ultimate success of the Framework

The draft intellectual disability health core capabilities are included in the discussion paper, available as a .pdf document at the bottom of this page.

An Easy Read version of the paper is also available as a .pdf document at the bottom of this page.

What happens next

Following this consultation, we will publish a summary of the findings ensuring that any responses included are de-identified. The findings from the consultation will be used to refine the core capabilities.

A modified Delphi will be conducted in early 2023 to seek consensus on the core capabilities that should be included in the Framework. Consensus on terms and language used will also be sought at this later stage.

Once the core capabilities have been finalised, the Framework will be developed. The development will include the creation of learning outcomes associated with each capability and guidelines for implementing the Framework into curricula.

A second open consultation on the whole Framework is planned for later in 2023.

For enquiries about the consultation please contact   


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
  • Men
  • Women
  • Carers and guardians
  • Families
  • Parents
  • Young people
  • Academics
  • Non-government organisations
  • State government agencies
  • Health professionals
  • Health workforce
  • General public


  • Learning and development