South Australian NDIS experience

Ms Heather  Baron1, Ms Kirstie  Morgan1, Ms Natalie Hood1, Ms Anna Malden1

1Women’s and Children’s Health Network, North Adelaide, Australia

Aim: To identify factors learned through the children’s trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme that are critical to its success and that facilitate enhanced outcomes for consumers.

Method: Information and learnings from the trial of the NDIS were collated from a central issues register and from allied health, medical and nursing staff closely involved in the trial.

Results:   The limited lead time to the commencement of the trial of the NDIS for children in South Australia and the underestimation of the numbers of eligible children entering the Scheme has resulted in many challenges for families and for staff in mainstream agencies such as Health.

If we knew then what we know now, some of the key challenges may have been more adequately considered and prepared for, resulting in smoother transition for children, families and mainstream service providers. The experience of the trial in South Australia has highlighted key areas that benefit from deliberate attention to assist consumer access and staff transition to this significant disability reform.  Access to the Scheme, individualised funding, placing choice and control in the hands of consumers, changes to referral and transition of care processes, and the grey area between disability and complex health needs are some of the areas where the benefit of hindsight has resulted in practice change and learnings that could benefit others.

Significance of the findings to allied health: Allied Health professionals will play a significant role in the implementation of the NDIS. Understanding the key principles and what practice change is required has relevance for all allied health staff working in health and disability.