Minister for NDIS under pressure to ensure dietitian access

Posted 9 months ago by David McManus
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The role of an accredited practising dietitian (APD) covered by the NDIS is to ensure that the capacity and ability of a person who needs support for an impairment is taken into account. (Source: Shutterstock)
The role of an accredited practising dietitian (APD) covered by the NDIS is to ensure that the capacity and ability of a person who needs support for an impairment is taken into account. (Source: Shutterstock)

As the Minister for NDIS and Government Services Bill Shorten addresses his plan to save funds, some are concerned that their services will be axed.

Key points:

  • Dietitians Australia is made up of 8,000 dietary professionals across the country
  • Recently, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Bill Shorten has announced a crackdown on pricing mechanisms, in order to reduce fraud, price gouging and Federal Budget cost
  • As a result of the crackdown, access to dietitians is among many of the concerns facing Australians living with disability, along with accommodation and gaps in aged care disability support

 

Leading voice in nutrition and dietitian access across the nation, Dietitians Australia is calling on the Minister for the NDIS and Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten to ensure that changes to funding don’t limit support.

Recently, accommodation accessibility in South Australia, along with State and Territory Budgets are showing signs of fallout following Mr Shorten’s announcement. Dietitians Australia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Robert Hunt says the peak body for nutrition support vehemently condemns instances of unfair participant funding across the NDIS. However, the organisation hopes that the new changes do not impact access to accredited practising dietitians (APDs).

“Dietitians Australia and [APDs] understand there is a delicate balance needed to support the sustainability of the NDIS, […] but efforts to make the NDIS pricing system more sustainable, must not put participants at risk of missing out on critical allied health therapy supports, including dietetic services,” says Mr Hunt.

“Particularly as there is minimal funding for therapy supports from allied health professionals including dietitians within mainstream services, including Medicare,” he continues, “we want to see people with a disability in this country empowered to access the therapy supports they need to maintain their quality of life.”

The CEO adds that the nutrition rights of everyone in Australia should be prioritised, to ensure that food and fluid needs are met, with easy access to APDs with valuable insight into health and wellbeing outcomes.

“It is disappointing the Government has not heeded the calls from our profession, and the wider allied health profession to ensure pricing limits for therapy supports are indexed in line with inflation,” Mr Hunt says.

“We know from what we hear from dietitians working in disability and alliances across the allied health sector, that many NDIS participants currently have restricted access to the full range of therapy supports they need to maintain their health and wellbeing.”

The Government aims to reform the NDIS over the next four years with the goal of saving $15.3 billion dollars. The minister promises people with disability and their families supported by the scheme that the cost-cutting measures will not negatively impact their access to funding.

In an Australian Broadcasting Channel (ABC) News livestream broadcast to TikTok and Instagram, Mr Shorten begins to offer some insight about the reform process, with red-tape and bureaucracy on the chopping block.

The 61 percent of NDIS support recipients on a six – 12 month plan can expect greater control through long-term planning and less frequent review, according to Mr Shorten, saving understaffed NDIS departments needless paperwork and the supported person from added stress.