People with disability living in New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) will begin the desperate search to find a new disability service provider following the “scaling down” of services by two disability providers facing financial pressures.
Last week, disability service provider Australian Unity announced it would “scale down” its National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services over the next 12 months in all locations except metropolitan Sydney.
It is expected 2,000 of Australian Unity’s 3,000 NDIS clients in regional NSW and Victoria will have to find new providers.
Meanwhile, The Benevolent Society (TBS) has told it’s clients it will merge a number of physical offices to create larger hubs and will focus on allied health services and behaviour support.
According to a statement released by The Benevolent Society yesterday, the organisation will focus on areas of expertise and community demand in NSW and the ACT through the delivery of behaviour support and allied health services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, as well as support coordination.
The change also includes a reduction in staff, which TBS is endeavouring to minimise the impact by offering staff the opportunity to transfer equivalent positions in other parts of the business, such as in our work with children and their families.
It will also provide training programs to ensure staff can re-skill and continue to work in the area of social services.
“We are doing everything in our power to minimise the disruption to both clients and staff,” Chief Executive Officer of TBS, Jo Toohey says.
TBS took over the provision of specialist (clinical) services for people with disability from the NSW Government in 2017 but has been supporting people with disability for over 200 years.
“Our decision to take on specialist services for people with disability was based on our desire to carry on the work done by this team in Government and to work out how things could be done better.
“We are committed to continuing our work with people with complex disabilities who often face enormous challenges,” Ms Toohey says.
Australian Unity and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will work together to ensure affected NDIS participants experience a smooth transition to another service provider of their choice and that nobody is left without care during the transition period.
A spokesperson from TBS has said no clients within NSW/ACT will have to look for providers and instead, TBS will support them in their transition.