Disability service providers losing confidence in NDIS
National Disability Services (NDS) released The State of the Disability Sector Report 2017 on Monday, which included a survey of 516 service providers.
It found only 58 per cent of service providers were planning to expand services in the year ahead (compared to 68 per cent two years ago), while 57 per cent of providers predicted they would not be able to meet service demand in 2018.
This was due in part to the implementation problems with the first 18 months of transition to the NDIS.
“Most disability service providers support the direction of change, but they feel under immense pressure. The NDIS demands huge growth and change at the same time. As the Productivity Commission observed, this is ‘highly challenging’ for disability service providers,” the report said.
“Add to this the implementation problems of the NDIS. These have dogged the scheme since July 2016 when the NDIS moved to full-scheme transition. NDIS systems faltered as the intake of participants dramatically increased. After three years of trial, the NDIS had brought in 30,000 people, 15 months later the number had increased to 113,000.
“The pressure to process people quickly led to short-cuts – phone planning instead of face-to-face planning, for example. Many new planners lacked the skills and experience required. The quality of participant plans fell.”
Many service providers expressed concern about their financial sustainability, with issues relating to unrealistic pricing, costly red tape, workforce shortages and uncertainty around policy.
Only 40 per cent of disability service providers rated their financial condition as “strong” or “very strong”, compared to 53 per cent last year.
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