NDIS an illusion for people with complex needs
Victoria’s Public Advocate has called for significant, immediate and effective reforms to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to ensure it delivers the intended transformational benefits for all Australians with a disability.
The call is based on a report The Illusion of ‘choice and control’ published by the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) today.
The report, which draws heavily on 12 case studies of OPA clients demonstrates the significant human impact and harm caused when people receive inadequate supports under the NDIS.
“These clients have complex and challenging support needs and are not seeing the benefits the NDIS was intended to offer,” Public Advocate, Dr Colleen Pearce, said.
“Without strong advocacy, many are not getting the access to the scheme. When they do, the planning, services and accommodation provided are often inadequate or unsuitable.”
“These challenges can have detrimental, sometimes devastating, consequences for the person,” Dr Pearce said.
“In many instances, delayed or inadequate supports and poor quality services lead to avoidable detention, including in prison, and other human rights infringements and significantly compromise their ability to achieve their chosen goals.”
“For them, the ‘choice and control’ that the NDIS promised is an illusion.”
The report makes 15 recommendations to improve crisis response, accommodation and navigation of ‘thin markets’ where there are no providers willing and able to provide services to people with complex and challenging support needs.
Critically, the report calls on the NDIS to:
- identify and adequately resource providers of last resort
- ensure providers employ staff who have specialised experience, skill and expertise to meet the needs of participants
- ensure participants’ plans have contingency funding to respond to crises.
“These issues will potentially escalate in scale and impact with the full NDIS rollout unless significant and effective actions are taken immediately,” Dr Pearce said.