NDIS Minister Shorten decries ADHD inclusion

Posted 11 months ago by David McManus
Share
National Disability Insurance Scheme [NDIS] Minister Bill Shorten adamantly denounced support for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] as a pathway to support through Government funds. [Image courtesy of Mick Tsikas via Australian Associated Press]
National Disability Insurance Scheme [NDIS] Minister Bill Shorten adamantly denounced support for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] as a pathway to support through Government funds. [Image courtesy of Mick Tsikas via Australian Associated Press]

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological developmental disorder affecting around one in every 20 Australians.

Key points:

  • Minister Shorten had previously asked for advice from professionals in the sector to determine the future of support for those living with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]
  • Approximately 280,000 children and 530,000 adults in Australia have ADHD, according to a Deloitte Access Economics report
  • After a decade of the Scheme providing support to those living with disability in Australia, the controversial system faces an extreme overhaul to mitigate costs

 

Australia has experienced a surge in ADHD diagnoses, with advocacy groups and senior experts in the sector pushing for the NDIS to provide funding for those living with the learning disability.

Australian Psychological Society and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists are among the major collectives calling for recognition of ADHD as an eligible disability. However, the Consumer Health Forum and the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses have addressed the need for an assessment scale which would address ADHD funding eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

The call for extended support from the Australian Psychological Society was forthcoming about the need for change.

“People with ADHD are more likely to experience mental health issues, addiction, die by suicide, and are overrepresented in the criminal justice system than the neurotypical population,” its submission said.

Despite the general consensus among clinicians and diagnostic professionals in Australia surrounding the need for ADHD to be supported in certain instances, rather than holistically and universally, Bill Shorten told ABC radio audiences that he “[doesn’t] think ADHD should automatically give you a ticket into the NDIS,” on Friday.

“I don’t think we should be just saying that if you have a diagnosis, you automatically get entry to the scheme,” said Minister Shorten.

Mr Shorten faced a whirlwind of questions from the media following a speech delivered to the National Press Club in April, with an independent panel set to review and deliver a range of recommendations by October.

The six key points of the minister’s plan were: increase staff and specialist working at the National Disability Insurance Agency [NDIA]; long-term planning and getting rid of the need for participants to constantly prove their disability status; lower costs by cracking down on providers overcharging for services; offer more in-home care; ensuring providers are providing care worth the money; and push states to support the NDIS to ease the Federal Budget.

Over half a million Australians are supported by the NDIS, which was introduced in July of 2013 and is now the second most expensive social program, just below the aged pension. As costs continue to rise and providers have spurred task force investigation for price-gouging at the expense of taxpayers, the possibility of further support may seem out of reach for many with the condition.