CUT OFF: Community Options stops support for NDIS patients
SOUTHERN Downs residents who access disability support through Queensland Health's Community Options have been told to make alternative arrangements as the service will soon cease.
A letter detailing the decision to withdraw the service for NDIS participants was recently delivered to Southern Downs clients, causing anxiety and uncertainty about the future.
A spokeswoman from Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service said clients would have to transition to non-government NDIS providers for services such as domestic assistance, social support, personal care and allied health.
But many are wondering where they will go.
Warwick and District Disability Support Group president Peter Stacy said he had been contacted by a number of concerned families.
"The NDIS is so new and finding another service provider to do what Community Options does is going to be extremely difficult. Who else is there?" he said.
"It is the most inopportune time for Queensland Health to execute this decision, they have made it really hard on these families."
Majella Roche and Tania Lamb said they were afraid to break the news to their brother, who receives 24-hour residential support from Community Options.
"This will be devastating," Ms Lamb said. "Change is like a death to (people with disabilities)."
Ms Lamb said clients had developed a close and trusting relationship with staff over many years.
She was concerned new providers would not have the same level of expertise as Community Options.
"There are a lot of new NDIS providers setting up but we want experience," she said.
But Mr Stacy said the NDIS gave people with disabilities great control over the services they received. "The decision is with the clients," he said. "No one can come in and replace Community Options unless the clients agree."
Member for Southern Downs James Lister voiced concerns over the potential loss of jobs and implications for people with disabilities.
"I believe this is distressing for clients and raises questions about whether some of the services provided by Community Options can easily be transitioned to private providers given the size of the market in the towns in Southern Downs," he said.
Mr Lister said he was worried it would be difficult to attract private providers to towns with small populations.
But DDHHS CEO Peter Gillies said the decision would allow private NDIS providers to expand.
Community Options will still provide aged care services and assist people who are not NDIS-eligible .