Disability service providers struggle in NDIS roll out
WARWICK people with disabilities and their carers may be missing out on important support, with industry experts saying "teething issues” with the NDIS were hindering services.
The State of the Disability Sector Report 2017 found a dampening in confidence of service providers, who claim issues with the scheme's implementation was discouraging them from expansion.
Director of Darling Downs support service, Quality Lifestyle Services Robyn Cavanagh said many service providers across the state had already shut their doors.
"When the program started providers popped up everywhere but the simple fact is there have been a lot of problems with the system so far, and it is very hard for businesses to make ends meet under the NDIS,” she said.
"And for new services, it would be extremely hard to start up now.
"The major issue is the fact the government did not trial this system, there was no pilot area in Queensland.
"There wasn't enough thought put into it across the board and it really wasn't ironed out properly.
"This is why there hasn't been that influx of services coming to Warwick.”
Other major issues include people with disabilities being out of pocket for medical expenses not included in the NDIS plan.
Mrs Cavanagh said her company had invested more than $800,000 into the Warwick community in the past 12 months.
The company has just bought a large house outside Warwick to house clients and act as a farmstay respite home.
"There were so many people out there not getting the services they need,” she said.
"We've had to be smart and flexible and a lot of our forward movement has been due to relying on our own finances.
"But that's our commitment to our clients and our important role within this community.”
Mrs Cavanagh said NDIS price guidelines left little room for profit.
"We have to charge out at a certain rate to cover the NDIS charge,” she said.
"If it's too high you're in danger of losing the client and this is why many businesses don't want to invest.
"They don't want to spend the money to come into regions like this, because where is the money going to come from?”
Mrs Cavanagh said they often paid more than they were making, after staffing, superannuation and payroll.
"There are times we can make it up, with weekend rates etcetera,” she said.
"We can't let the clients down - we decided and we knew it would be at a cost but we knew it was worth it to these people who need the help.
"That the care is there for these people.”
Warwick woman Pam Tyter said though sometimes slow-moving, she was thankful for and pleased with the NDIS.
Mrs Tyter's 31-year-old son Kevin has dyspraxia, a neurological condition he's lived with since birth.
She said they initially had trouble finding a disability service provider on arrival in Warwick.
"There did seem to be a lack of providers,” she said.
"We didn't really know where to look, but eventually found QLS online.”
Mrs Tyter said her son lived in care housing.
"In his case, he has everything he needs,” Mrs Tyter said.
"Our service providers have been great to us, and the NDIS facilitator in Warwick is so helpful.
"The only issue we've had is the time that things take to happen. It's a very slow process, but the system is so much better for Kevin than it ever previously was.”
The family has been living in Warwick since May this year. They were living in Bowen when Cyclone Debbie hit.
"We had to get out,” she said.
"We settled in Warwick and brought Kevin down to join us. He wasn't benefiting at all from the services up north, but here they have been excellent,” she said.