A number of key concerns and considerations relating to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) have been laid out by a one of the nation’s leading membership organisations representing medical professionals.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) raised their key points in their recently released Position Statement on the National Disability Insurance Scheme 2018, and also called for bipartisan commitment to funding the Scheme to help ensure its continuing viability, and, to ensure all eligible participants receive appropriate supports.
AMA President Dr Michael Gannon says that while the member organisation acknowledges that the NDIS is not yet “completely operational” and that it has encountered a number of operational and budgetary obstacles, he says that as one of the most significant reforms in the history of Australian health care, its future “must be guaranteed”.
“The AMA recognises the need to balance reasonable criticisms of the NDIS without undermining either confidence in, or the integrity of, the Scheme,” Dr Gannon explains.
“The AMA supports the recommendations made by the Productivity Commission and the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS - these recommendations must be implemented as a matter of urgency.”
Dr Gannon adds that it is “critical” that NDIS planners respect diagnoses and reports from medical professionals.
“NDIS planners must be appropriately qualified to work respectfully with NDIS participants, their carers, and medical professionals, and have a sufficient level of disability knowledge to carry out their roles and responsibilities,” he says.
“Under no circumstances should a non-medically qualified NDIS planner or assessor disregard medical assessments by treating health professionals.
“Medical professionals must be provided with accurate, unambiguous material detailing exactly what medical information, including diagnosis and treatments, is required for NDIS assessments.”
He adds that it is vital to strike the right balance of support between the traditional medical mental health treatment and psychosocial supports for both those eligible for the NDIS, and those not eligible.
“Appropriate NDIS packages should be available for all eligible Australians with permanent psychiatric impairment resulting in substantial reduced capacity,” he explains.
“It should not matter how that permanent impairment is acquired.
“Acquired brain injury, including drug and alcohol-related brain injury, or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), should not be grounds for ineligibility.
“The condition is what makes a person eligible for and NDIS package, regardless of how it may have been caused.”