The Greens are calling on the Federal Government to guarantee that people in the South West continue to have access to quality mental health services during the transition to the NDIS.
“After visiting providers and stakeholders in the South West I have serious concerns about funding for and access to mental health services with the roll out of the NDIS for people who are currently on Commonwealth funded services,” Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“What I have heard is that people who are currently receiving supports through Commonwealth funded programs do not have certainty about the supports they will receive and current providers have no idea what level of funding they will have access to in order to provide services.
“It has finally been acknowledged by the Federal Government that not all people in the Partners in Recovery (PIR), Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMS) and Day2Day living and will be transitioned to the NDIS by the original transition date of June 30 2019. But there is no clear plan for what will happen for people on these programs.
“Providers are at risk of losing staff due to uncertainty of funding, putting clients at risk. This is a mess.
“At the last minute the Government has committed extra funding for on-going services and supports for people who have not yet transitioned, however instead of providing this funding to service providers directly this funding will be administrated by Primary Health Networks (PHNs) causing more confusion and bureaucracy.
“The Government nor the PHNs are able to tell providers when or how much money they will receive for the provision of on-going supports to clients.
“There is a potential that providers may have to carry the cost of service while arrangements are finalised.
“This mess was entirely foreseeable and we have people with significant mental illness whose wellbeing is at risk because of this mess.
“On top of this there are a large number of on-going issues with the roll out of the NDIS with services in the South West pulling out of the region and pulling out of the NDIS.
“Service providers and or individual staff are being expected to pick up costs of transport with participants being told that they can catch a bus where no bus service exists.
“Staff are having to transport participants quite long distances for some services at cost to themselves or participants. There are a myriad of concerns this raises.
“People with psychosocial disability aren’t adequately supported under the NDIS, a lot of people with severe mental health issues won’t be eligible for the NDIS, experience barriers to applying, and even if they do get a package they often won’t receive the same level of support they did under existing Commonwealth mental health programs.
“Once again regional areas are being left behing by the Government in critical delivery of services.”
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180