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Disability Royal Commission - Hearing Update

The Disability Royal Commission is exploring education and training of health care professionals in relation to people with a cognitive disability in a public hearing. The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing in Sydney on Tuesday 15 December 2020 and Wednesday 16 December 2020. 

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Content Warning

Some of the stories and information below contain details about abuse, neglect and mistreatment of people with disability. There is support if you have any concerns because of this information.

How can I attend? 

Due to COVID-19, the hearing is not open to the public. It is available to watch or listen to online via the live stream. This hearing will take place from Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 December 2020. Public Hearing 10 will be the final public hearing for 2020.

What is it about? 

This hearing will examine the education and training of health professionals, including medical practitioners, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and psychologists, in relation to the health care and treatment of people with a cognitive disability. 

The issues explored at the hearing will include:

  • content of curricula at undergraduate and postgraduate medical, dental and nursing schools and colleges relating to the health needs of people with cognitive disability and areas of curricula redevelopment to better support people with a cognitive disability
  • accreditation and oversight of education and training programs
  • practice standards and professional competencies
  • post-registration and special education and training as well as continuing professional development
  • the extent of involvement of people with cognitive disability and their families and support persons in the education and training of health professionals
  • the need for and effectiveness of education and training to address
  • diagnostic overshadowing and the misdiagnosis of health conditions in people with a cognitive disability
  • cultural attitudes, assumptions and beliefs about the quality of life of people with a cognitive disability
  • communication with people with cognitive disability and their families and carers, and
  • gaps in specialised knowledge in cognitive disability.


Live stream

Closed captions and Auslan translations provided as well as an audio-only stream



Witness List


Official Transcripts

Opening Address

More will be added here when available.

Media Coverage


15 December 2020

Doctors overprescribing psychotropic medication to intellectually disabled: Disability Royal Commission

ABC News

15 December 2020

Autistic man unable to tell doctors he was conscious during surgery now training medical staff

More be added here when available.

Support Services

The Disability Royal Commission has set up support services for people with disability affected by or interacting with the Commission process. These supports include counselling, advocacy, financial and legal help. For more information and links read our resource on Royal Commission Support Services.

More Information

Go to Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability for our full coverage on the Disability Royal Commission or choose from some of the past hearings listed below. 

Past Hearings

Disability Royal Commission explores pathways and barriers to open employment for people with disability 
Disability Royal Commission - First Nations People with a Disability
Disability Royal Commission explores barriers to education 
Disability Royal Commission hearing on the use of psychotropic medication 
Disability Royal Commission Hearing on Emergency Planning 

Disability Royal Commission 

Phone: 1800 517 199
Web: disability.royalcommission.gov.au 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

For more information read our full directory listing.

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