Disability Support Services
“Here to, Where?"
The Productivity Commission will pass their recommendations to the Federal Government at the end of next month (July), on how services for people with a disability should be funded and provided to ensure everyone with a disability has a right, an entitlement, to real, meaningful and accountable quality of life care and support which is right for them.
People with a disability and their families have been asked to accept, support and promote the considered means to achieving rights based services - the “National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)” to achieve a right, to the right services and support seen to provide quality of life care and support.
With the principle of NDIS generally accepted by people with a disability and their families, they are now asked to promote the NDIS to the general Australian population. Mainly on the grounds that everyone has the right to medical services, so everyone needs the right, to the right disability support services. We are all vulnerable to injury and natural reduction in ability due to various factors, including ageing.
It is easier for the Federal Government to give the Productivity Commission’s recommendations the tick of approval, if the NDIS principles are accepted and supported by the general Australian population, for the government to make a commitment to a “locked allocation” of general revenue funding by the end of the year.
Once the Productivity Commission’s recommendations are accepted by the Federal Government, the Productivity Commission has no further role.
Turning the Productivity Commission's recommendations into practice, is the role of the proposed "National Disability Insurance Agency ("NDIA"), and is where the controversy starts. People are already questioning the “devil in the detail”, and the “devil in the implementation”.
There is little question, the NDIS principle will solve most of the present unmet needs - those aging parents still having to care for their family member at home. It is, however, questionable just how service quality will be met and maintained with the NDIS principle of funding services through individualised funding packages (ISPs)
With ISPs, service quality is market place driven. If you don't like this or that service, you look for something better or more suitable - with your ISP in your pocket.
There are many residents in established supported accommodation group homes where the whole group, say six, have little or no ability to make valued judgements, and have no, or not interested family. When NDIS starts, or gets to them, state funding will be replaced by NDIS federal funding in the form of six ISPs. And the service will continue. If the service was poor, it has little reason not to stay poor. The answer to this from the Productivity Commission was - "Dissatisfied residents/families should use their ISP to move to another service".
Market place driven quality is fine for most services in the community. If you don't like Telstra, one phone call and your telephone is on Optus. It's not so simple moving people, especially those with limited intellectual capacity to understand why they need to move.
NDIS ISPs need to come with mandatory service level and quality, evidence based, standards - together with an effective complaints process. Not just rely on market place driven quality. We don't want just more of what we have now.
Current support services have good legislation, care policies, standards and values, but these are not consistently implemented within their direction, intention and spirit. So services are frequently a huge bucket of worms, where those who have the ability to battle bureaucracy, get most of these charity hand-out services.
Without a proper and fair action plan to implement the Productivity Commission’s recommendations, everyone will be jockeying for personal advantage, again, as usual.
Various state governments have proven they cannot run care and support services for people with a disability and their families. Their public service captive market culture is totally unable to provide consistent customer service necessary to complement funding and legislation intention to provide consistent quality of life care.
People in supported accommodation, or similar, just want consistent quality of life care. Those who will get supported accommodation, or similar, as a result of NDIS federal funding, want similar. They should not have to battle for quality of life care, as most existing families have had to, in one way or another, under the present system. All parents need to depart this world in peace, their vulnerable family member will be well cared-for, for the rest of their life.
Given the Federal Government is unable to properly manage its relatively simple “Mobility Allowance”, we question it will be any better than the States at ensuring the massive and extremely complex task of “Disability Support" within the NDIS principles", under NDIA management, is significantly better than we have now as regards the provision of real quality of life care.