Where NDIS clients can find help in uncertain system
AS HUNDREDS of Southern Downs NDIS clients prepare to transition away from Queensland Health providers, the question of what is available continues to cause confusion and concern.
Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service has announced it will cease to provide assistance to 159 NDIS clients around the Southern Downs through various Community Care services.
Clients are expected to transition to different providers before June 30 or their next NDIS plan review, whichever comes first.
Warwick and District Disability Support president Peter Stacy has been helping affected families understand where to go from here.
He said client's options about where to seek assistance would vary according to their specific needs.
"People who require community access services like help with shopping, going out to town, exercising and recreational activities have a lot more opportunity than those in supported independent living," Mr Stacy said.
A number of existing disability providers have gone through NDIS accreditation and new providers are in the process of getting accreditation or establishing a presence in the Southern Down region.
Established NDIS providers include, but are not limited to, the Endeavour Foundation, Healthcall, Quality Lifestyle Support, Blue Care, the St Vincent De Paul Society, Churches of Christ, Granite Belt Support Services and a number of other private individuals who have NDIS accreditation.
But Mr Stacy said the timing of the decision was inopportune due to the constant state of flux.
"All Queensland Health has done is exacerbate the problem by doing something now, when they could have done it when a few more of these providers had established themselves in the region and gone through accreditations," he said.
"None of this has ever been done before and the rules aren't all understood by the people who are providers and even the people who are implementing it."
Mr Stacy said NDIS participants had to 'kick their own hole in the wall' to access the services they required.
A DDHHS spokeswoman said NDIS Local Area Coordinators (LAC) would assist clients in transitioning away from Community Care services.
"The coordinator has been meeting with other service providers to define services being offered and then passing that information onto clients as well as directing them to their LAC," she said.
"It is client choice which provider they will engage."
In Warwick there are two LACs located in the Centrelink building.
Mr Stacy said the announcement may be an opportunity for clients to request a review of their personal NDIS plans.
"The plan is subject to review every 12 months or whenever circumstances change," Mr Stacy said.
Professionals have also raised concerns for rural NDIS clients who benefited from Community Care services.
Mr Stacy believes Queensland Health would continue to provide care if no one stepped up to the plate.
"If no body comes forward within a reasonable time frame to take over these businesses I don't believe Queensland Health would walk away from it," Mr Stacy said.