The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new national system of providing funds to individuals with disabilities, to assist them with their daily care needs. If you work in the healthcare industry, you’ve no doubt heard about the NDIS. However, there is still a lot of confusion across the board about what it means for providers and recipients, and when exactly the changes apply.
The NDIS was passed as an Act in Federal Parliament in March 2013 by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard. It was created with the aim of giving people with disabilities more choice around how, when, and where they access care, and to increase the certainty of funding for those with genuine care requirements.
The need to change the system was brought to the fore in July 2011 after a federal Productivity Commission reported that ‘The current disability support system is underfunded, unfair, fragmented, and inefficient. It gives people with a disability little choice, no certainty of access to appropriate supports and little scope to participate in the community.’
Trials of the scheme began rolling out back in July 2013. After the initial successful trials, staggered commencement dates spanning 2013 to 2019 were then scheduled across Australia. The scheme will be accessible to all eligible Australians by 2020.
Fortunately, the ACT was one of the first states to begin the scheme, with the NDIS beginning in the state on the 1st of July 2014. NDIS funding and services are currently available to all eligible ACT residents under the age of 65. Preliminary reports show that the effect of this new scheme are, overall, a positive step forward, with most surveyed recipients reporting increased access to support and an improvement in choice and participation around their care needs.
According to the ACT Government Community Services Fact Sheet, the types of support that the NDIS can provide funds for include:
- Daily personal activities.
- Transport to community, social, work and daily life activities.
- Workplace help so a participant can get or keep a job.
- Therapeutic supports including behaviour support.
- Help with household tasks to allow the participant to maintain their home.
- Help by trained people in aids or equipment assessment, set up and training.
- Home modifications.
- Mobility equipment.
- Vehicle modifications.
As a state, the ACT is set to reap many improvements from the implementation of the NDIS. While improved quality care for the individual is at the centre of the scheme, many other stakeholders will also benefit. One report estimates that the use of the scheme will add an additional $367 million dollars to the state economy.
This economic boost comes from a three pronged increase in contributions. Firstly, there will be an increase in the number of people with disabilities in paid employment. Secondly, hundreds of unpaid carers will now have added support that will allow them to return to paid work if they choose. And, finally, the number of new positions created within the healthcare industry means that the industry is booming.
However, while the increase in funding means there is more work available in the disability support sector, the need for these workers to be compassionate, personable, and flexible is at an all time high. This is due to one of the key factors in the program – more client directed decisions. This means that the recipients of the service, or their representatives, have more control than ever before over who they choose to engage.
Simply put, if a person receiving NDIS funding doesn’t like the carer or the service provider they’ve engaged, it is now easier than ever for them to take their business elsewhere. Ideally, this increased ability of care recipients to choose where to spend their funding will mean an increase in the standard of care across the industry.
As one of the wide range of registered providers in the ACT, MAC Healthcare is proud to be part of the community of healthcare professionals offering a wider range of choice, flexibility, and community inclusion to those of our clients living with disabilities. If you are a qualified professional looking for either casual, short term, or long term placement in the area of disability support, please head to our Job Board. If you are a person with a disability, or the representative of a person with a disability, and would like to discuss engaging our services, please contact us here.
Image Source: Nathan Anderson