This report presents the findings of an Evidence Check on capacity building and intellectual disability health
services. The NSW Ministry of Health commissioned the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Faculty of
Health’s Centre for Health Services Management to conduct a rapid review that sought to identify and
analyse the available evidence on methods to improve the capacity of healthcare services and systems to
respond to the needs of people with intellectual disabilities (PWID).
The Evidence Check was conducted in three phases. Phase 1 was essentially a proof of concept search to
identify whether there was enough evidence available to proceed. Phase 2 was a systematic scoping review
including a primary analysis of any existing reviews addressing the provision of healthcare to PWID. The
third phase is a review and analysis of single studies not covered by the preceding reviews and of the grey
literature from selected countries. This report provides an analysis of a meta review of 35 systematic or
comprehensive literature reviews identified in the first phase of the project. The research team crosschecked
the remaining studies with the reviews, identifying 35 studies that were included and an additional
69 that were not. These additional studies were reviewed separately for this report along with an overview of
the grey literature.
There is abundant evidence of the higher health risks and lower quality of care provided to PWID. There is
also universal acknowledgement of the limited amount of research available that address strategies for the
improvement of healthcare for PWID. The evidence that is available, however, points to several potential
areas of capacity building, including structural responses, role definitions and development, communicative
strategies, clinical, ethical/research and environmental responses.
The provision of adequate care to PWID is complex because of both the complexity of many intellectual
disability conditions and a longstanding fa...