Talk enlightens about NDIS plans

CHANGE AHEAD: Maxine Smith and Chris Buckman from Challenge Community Services discuss the changes to disability care under the NDIS with Real Disability Care psychologist Amanda Wood and Challenge Choices general manager David Hinwood. Photo: Barry Smith 230614BSC02

CHANGE AHEAD: Maxine Smith and Chris Buckman from Challenge Community Services discuss the changes to disability care under the NDIS with Real Disability Care psychologist Amanda Wood and Challenge Choices general manager David Hinwood. Photo: Barry Smith 230614BSC02

LOCAL people will disabilities can look forward to services that focus on the person, not the disability, under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), according to key members in the sector. 

About 70 people gathered yesterday at the Ibis Styles Tamworth hotel for a forum about the NDIS and person-centred care, followed by a Q-and-A session.

Real Disability Care psychologist and director Amanda Wood said person-centred care was about “focusing in on the person” and their potential, rather than forcing them to fit in with a pre-existing system of care.

She said the NDIS would function more as a “shopfront” that asked individuals what they wanted, rather than the existing system where disability service providers organised an activity, such as tenpin bowling, and gave clients the option of participating. 

“It’s about not being defined by your disability – nobody wants to be defined by what they can’t do,” Ms Wood said. 

She has been involved in the three-year NDIS trial held in the Hunter region, now in its first year, which caters to 10,000 individuals and is progressing “very slowly”, she says. 

Tamworth Challenge general manager Chris Buckman, who emceed the forum, said though people saw the “glossy ads on TV” about the NDIS, many still came to him with questions about whether they would be worse off and about what they could do within the scheme. 

Challenge Community Services chief executive officer Barry Murphy said the forum was designed to answer questions from people who had not been involved in the trial and had been “left in the dark”. 

Mr Murphy said the negative press surrounding the Hunter trial was “somewhat justified”, given its rushed implementation, but suggested the problems that had arisen during the trial could be resolved before a rollout across the New England. 

General manager at Challenge Choices David Hinwood said the NDIS would roll out for the rest of NSW from July 1, 2016, to be completed by June 30, 2018. 

“That’s only two years for 140,000 people,” Mr Hinwood said.

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