People living with a disability who are homeless, in jail, dealing with mental health issues or coming out of residential aged care will have access to a new NDIS pathway for people with “complex needs”.
It’s estimated up to 15 per cent of NDIS participants fit into this category.
The rollout of the new Complex Support Needs Pathway follows a 2017 NDIS review sparked by feedback from around 300 participants and providers.
The implementation of the pathway comes after the announcement in October of a new psychosocial disability stream for people with disability caused by severe and persistent mental health issues.
“NDIS Participants are identified for the Complex Support Needs Pathway by the complexity of their situation and personal factors such as being homeless or returning to the community from living in residential aged care,” Assistant minister for disability services Sarah Henderson said in a statement.
“Involuntary or voluntary involvement with particular government systems such as Justice or mental health would also be factors which would necessitate entry to the complex support needs pathway.”
A spokeswoman said the complex needs pathway involved further outreach and pre-planning for those eligible, including people who are serving a jail sentence.
It will have specialised planning, liaison and support staff who will undergo specific training, Ms Henderson said in a statement.
A national rollout of the pathway has started in selected parts of Melbourne and will begin in Sydney by the end of this month.
Growth in NDIS providers
Families and social services minister Paul Fletcher says the latest COAG NDIS Quarterly report shows the government is making progress with the NDIS and improving services, with participant satisfaction at an all-time high, and 93 per cent rating their experience as good or very good.
The report, released last week, showed there are 17,925 NDIS service providers currently registered across Australia, a seven per cent increase on the last quarter but a slower growth rate than the 17 per cent of previous quarters.
There were 9,700 active providers.
Registration groups with the highest level of growth in active providers:
- Specialist Disability Accommodation
- Innovative Community Participation
- Community Nursing Care for high needs
- Household tasks
- Assistive products for household tasks
The report also found the number of CALD participants increased in this quarter and more participants are choosing to self-manage their plan.
However Australia’s peak body for non-government disability providers, National Disability Services, found the NDIS is placing intense pressure on providers and said in its annual report that confidence in the scheme is faltering.
Its yet-to-be released state of the sector report is also expected to paint a less than rosy picture.
Community Care Review understands the report has found low levels of collaboration in the sector, major concerns over how the NDIS is working with providers and administrative burdens that outweighing costings, as well as concerns about the ability to uphold quality of care if the situation doesn’t change.
Speaking on ABC Radio on Monday, Mr Fletcher described the NDIS as “the biggest change in social policy since Medicare”.
“The estimate is 460,000 people by 2020 and this year Commonwealth spending over eight billion, total spending around 17 billion, it will reach 22 billion by 2021,” he said. “So a massive exercise. Inevitably there will be some difficulties along the way.”
Disability employment taskforce
Meanwhile, the government on Monday announced the creation of a disability employment taskforce to increase the participation of people with disability to in the workforce.
“I’m looking forward to being involved with targeted consultations by the Taskforce, including roundtables with participants, families, Australian Disability Enterprises, Disability Employment Services and other employment providers and stakeholders,” Ms Henderson said.
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