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Submission SUB-B8S7-002256 (Anonymous)

Submission reference
Is there anything else that you would like to tell the NDIS Review?

For someone who is plan managed and uses a Support-coordinator it is fairly easy and they can find you suitable services but may also tend to direct you to a "preferred" provider - see below. This can be good if they have experience with those providers as being good based on performance etc however they can be gate-keepers and direct the participant to a favored provider. I have had experience with this when looking for allied health providers with a skill in dementia and was directed to so called "Neuro" expert allied health providers. The people who turned up were new out of Uni and rather useless from a "neuro" perspective and had no formal dementia training or awareness. The providers principal did have qualifications but they just sent the junior presumably to harvest as many billable hours as possible.

For one the NDIS is not a market - there is little competition and unfortunately a lot of the bigger providers seem to be businesses run to extract the most from participants funding for profit for their backers. Having a focus on smaller, self employed providers will help drive efficiencies and provide a more personal service (which is my experience). Also as I said the Support Co-ordination role is a bit of a gate keeper to access services and this has the risk of "kick backs" for directing participants to particular providers. Requiring Support Co-ordinators to give choice of a number of possible providers would help as would toughening up the skill and training requirements for that role.

From a support worker perspective, they are the key to good outcomes for the participant but are a very casualised workforce and this results in high turnover and poor training. Encouraging providers to employ permanent employees and providing better training would help but would of course increase costs and lower hourly rates for staff. The current 48hrs per fortnight limit for foreign students also reduces the number of potential employees as they have limits on how much work they can do which is rather paternalistic given that they are adults who can work out there own work study balance.

Finally having a few years experience with the NDIS I have to say it is a wonderful program that has allowed me to keep my very disabled wife at home and have her happy and comfortable in what remains of her life. I am very grateful to the generosity of the Australian people for their support.