New resources to help GPs and patients navigate the NDIS

Anastasia Tsirtsakis

28/10/2020 1:51:42 PM

Co-designed by the RACGP, the resources help to ensure GPs are informed about criteria, process of eligibility, and accessing the scheme.

Person following a clear path
The NDIS has been a challenging system to navigate since its inception.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is designed to help people living with a significant and permanent disability have more independence, and live the life they want.
But, since its implementation, it has been a challenging system to navigate.
RACGP spokesperson Dr Lara Roeske knows this firsthand –as a GP, and parent and carer of a child with disability.  
‘GPs play a very important role in helping patients navigate the scheme. A GP is often the first place people turn to for healthcare, and we are also a key entry point for patients to the NDIS,’ she said.
‘[But] as a mother and carer of a son living with disability, I know navigating the NDIS can be challenging for patients and their families.
‘GPs have also found it difficult.’
In response, the RACGP has teamed up with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to co-design a suite of new resources to help GPs better support their patients through the system.
They include a six-point checklist guide to considering a patient’s eligibility, practical training videos, and a brochure with information on how other stakeholders, including NDIS partners, allied health professionals and practice nurses can support patients to navigate the scheme.
An accredited continuing professional development (CPD) training module has also been developed.
Dr Roeske called new resources a ‘positive step forward’.
‘We welcome this opportunity to engage with the NDIS to improve the experience for patients and their families navigating the NDIS,’ she said.
We [the RACGP] recognised there was great scope to improve the involvement of GPs, and in turn the experience for patients.
‘GPs can offer a great deal of insight to inform and improve the experience for those seeking scheme access, as we support patients throughout their NDIS journey from entry point and onwards.
‘We assist patients in information-gathering, and providing relevant documents and supports. We remain caring for our patients throughout their NDIS journey, and can help our patients to navigate that journey and ensure they have the right supports.’
The NDIS currently supports more than 400,000 Australians living with disability.
Along with the new GP resources, the introduction of independent assessments will seek to remove existing barriers to accessing the NDIS and support a more streamlined process for patients seeking access to the scheme.
NDIA spokesperson Shannon Rees said the agency is grateful to the RACGP for its feedback and support.
‘It was really important that we developed resources that were practical, informative and useful,’ she said. ‘These resources have been co-designed with GPs for GPs – so they can more easily support their patients who might be wanting to apply for the NDIS.’
GPs can also access a dedicated GPs and health professionals page on the NDIS website that features responses to frequently asked questions.
A number of other resources, reviewed and endorsed by RACGP GPs, are also available, including a range of practical guides such as MBS billing scenarios, resources specific to psychosocial disability, multilingual patient information, quick links to NDIS forms, and a video library providing a range of perspectives on the scheme.
‘We have a role to play as GPs and advocates for our patients with disability,’ Dr Roeske said.
The new resources to help GPs support patients to access the NDIS are available on the RACGP website.
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