National Disability Insurance Scheme
"Entitlement, Choice, Rights and Customer Service"
Can government department direct care services for people with a disability
ever be within the comprehensive, extensive and well documented
care policies, standards and values of Federal and State Governments?
In Victoria, the Auditor General, Community Visitors and the recent Parliamentary Inquiry into Accommodation Services all question service outcome. Especially that of government direct care services. Dr Rhonda Galbally says, "Why is it that we lack the will to close this gap?"
The gap between service intention and service provision in government direct care services is mainly due to attitude - The traditional introvert and defensive public service attitude towards those they are intended to serve.
In non government services, CSOs, the gap is mainly as a result of low funding per se, especially compared to government direct services. With NDIS (Medicare), services would receive similar funding, as do present medical services from Medicare.
It is difficult to find anyone with a good word to say about Victoria's largest direct care service provider - the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, which has control over almost all services throughout Victoria. NDIS would/should remove this despotic control.
People said similar about PMG/Telecom. Most complaints were about their arrogance, indifference, apathy and total power over the very people they were intended to serve.
Big business in the market place were affected mostly by Telecom's attitude towards customer needs. Businesses needed high technology communications to be competitive in the market place, especially overseas markets.
Telecom had little reason to improve services - they had little reason for customers or customer service. Their market was captive, public service, federal government funded Australia wide - Consumers could go nowhere else. There was no choice!
Finally, the Howard Government broke Telecom's monopoly, to open its captive network to Optus. And, Telstra was born mainly free of public service attitude.
Telstra was/is in the market place and needing to retain their customer base. So customer service was/is now a prime factor of their service.
Consumers finally had choice, and enjoyed customer service almost overnight in comparison with Telecom - such was the sea change.
A similar paradigm shift is needed if we are ever to see consistent, meaningful and customer focused quality of life care for all with an intellectual or multiple disability and their families - Quality of life care services where parents do not feel they have to live for ever!
Although the NDIS will drive change, it may not, alone, have the dynamics to remove the very entrenched government direct care services to be provided by community service organisations - Leaving government (the DHS) to monitorCSOs to ensure their care services are consistently implemented within the direction, intention and spirit of comprehensive Federal and State Government care policies, standards and values.
Caring parents need to be able to depart this world with a clear view and assurance their family member will receive real and meaningful quality of life care when they are no longer around to help ensure this.
LIFESTYLE IN SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION (LISA) INC.