News

Six core areas of NDIS plan revealed


Morgan Liotta


14/11/2019 3:03:25 PM

Final stages of the NDIS overhaul come after reviews of the process revealed major improvements are needed.

Stuart Robert
Minister Stuart Robert said the rollout of the updated NDIS is one of the largest social reforms Australia has seen since Medicare. (Image: AAP)

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Minister Stuart Robert described the plan’s rollout as the ‘largest social reform this country has seen since the introduction of Medicare.’
 
Minister Robert admitted, however, that the scheme does ‘not always live up to high expectations’ and greater flexibility is necessary for people with disability to access it.
 
In a bid to cut red tape and reduce wait times for people seeking access to the NDIS, the Federal Government commissioned a review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act) earlier this year. It focused on potential legislation changes to support the introduction of the Participant Service Guarantee and to simplify the NDIS process to improve participant and provider experiences.
 
Minister Robert said the review helped set the runway to deliver six key areas of the NDIS plan:

  • Quicker access and reduced wait times for participants, including new standard streamlined operating procedures incorporating a single point of contact for participants, longer consultation plans, and NDIS plans being approved more quickly
  • Increased engagement and collaboration to deliver high-quality and easily accessible information for people with disability, and build social and economic capacity
  • Market information and improved technology
  • Ensuring the NDIS is a financial and sustainable scheme
  • Equitable and consistent decision making – Minister Robert highlighted that diagnosis of a disability is influenced by range of factors, including assessment tools. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is looking at how to improve consistency across individual functional assessments and intends to fully implement and fund their use in the access and planning pathways from 1 July 2020
  • Improving long-term outcomes
The RACGP recently sought member feedback from on their experiences of the NDIS to help inform its submission to the review of the NDIS Act and the new Participant Service Guarantee.
 
With the aim of reviewing overall operation of the NDIS and how it could be improved by enhancing the role of GPs to streamline better access for patients with disability, the RACGP’s key points include:
 
  • ensuring staffing levels are adequate and staff are appropriately qualified and trained to undertake their role
  • standardising forms and processes and improving communication
  • enhancing the role of GPs in the planning process
  • recognising the role of GPs in preparing reports for applicants
  • additional principles for inclusion in the new Participant Service Guarantee.
Associate Professor Bob Davis, Chair of the RACGP Specific Interests Disability network, anticipates the RACGP’s submission providing a foundation to improve the current situation for GPs and patients.
 
‘The submission has already been integral in negotiations with the NDIA on how we might improve the quality of GP involvement with the NDIA and the planning process,’ he told newsGP.
 
‘The NDIA acknowledges the importance of GP involvement and is looking to collaborate with the college to develop practical supports and improve communication between GPs and the NDIA.’
 
Associate Professor Davis highlighted the need for better communication, in particular between the NDIS and GPs ‘before, during and after the setting up of an NDIS plan’. He hopes this will also ease concerns about adequate remuneration for GPs’ time.
 
‘[Part of the submission process is] to identify ways of facilitating better GP–NDIS interaction,’ he said.
 
The NDIS currently has more than 310,000 participants, including 114,000 receiving disability support for the first time. The final rollout is due to be completed by mid-2020, with an estimated 500,000 participants to be added over the next five years.
 
It is also expected the NDIS will acquire an additional 90,000 workers, including 71% support workers and 12% in allied health.
The NDIS Act review and Participant Service Guarantee Terms of Reference are available on the Department of Social Services website.
 
The Participant Service Guarantee will be implemented from 1 July 2020 and outline timeframes for key steps in the NDIS process, such as having a plan approved and reviewed.
 
The RACGP has developed a guide for GPs to support their patients accessing the NDIS.
 
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