STEPPING IN: Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service has said the decision to step back from NDIS would allow other providers to expand and increase activity in the region.
STEPPING IN: Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service has said the decision to step back from NDIS would allow other providers to expand and increase activity in the region. shapecharge

NDIS: Hundreds told to seek alternative arrangements

DARLING Downs Hospital and Health Service has said no one will be left in the lurch as 159 Southern Downs residents begin to look for alternative NDIS providers before June 30.

People accessing support under Queensland Health's Community Care services have been told services like home maintenance, social support and 25-hour residential care will no longer be available to NDIS participants as the private disability services market expands in regional areas.

Community Care encompass a number of organisations including Community Options in Warwick, and Home and Community Care in Inglewood and Texas.

"The market of providers has matured and there is an opportunity for increased activity for established local NDIS services," a DDHHS spokesperson said.

"If there isn't a current NDIS provider in an area for any or all services, Community Care services will support until the NDIS market matures and other providers become available.

"No NDIS participant will be left without a service provider and the DDHHS is working closely with all clients to support them in the transition to a new provider."

But some clients are concerned they won't receive the same level of care and support through new services.

Stanthorpe resident John Cobon said the trusting relationship he developed with Community Care staff was an important aspect of the care that has helped him live independently after a spinal cord injury that left him needing a wheelchair.

"You have a constant person coming into your house and you develop a good working and social relationship with them," he said.

Another family, whose brother receives 24/7 supported accommodation through Community Options Warwick expressed concerns over the level of expertise that other providers would have in comparison to Community Options staff.

"Anyone can go in and be a provider under the NDIS scheme and care for them, that's wrong to start with," one of the family members said.

Warwick and District Disability Support Group president Peter Stacy sympathised with distressed families but said the NDIS scheme gave participants complete control over who could provide services.

"The service organisations used to decide what they wanted to do and who would do it but now that has done a 360 and the clients decide," he said.

"When it comes to these (24/7 supported accommodation) houses, no one can replace Community Options unless the clients can agree.

"This is a fundamentally important point because it gives all of the control back to the clients. It is not possible for people to just come in and take over. It gives some peace of mind to these people."

Community Options Warwick was established in 1990s to provide care for people with complex needs.

The organisation provided services to 620 Warwick residents in 2017, 50 of whom will be affected by the transition away from NDIS care.

DDHHS has indicated it will help current NDIS clients transition to other service providers in line with their NDIS plan review date or by 30 June, whichever comes first.

The number of staff who will be affected by the decision is still unclear, according to a DDHHS spokesperson.

"During this transitional phase we are unsure how staff will be affected, however we are committed to communicating any changes with our staff as they arise."

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