Submission from Jeff Baker, 28 March 2015
My experience with NDIS has been working with a client self managing their NDIS application and attendance to The Perth Hills Expo on NDIS. As an equipment provider to clients with disabilities I am keen to see equipment “fit for purpose” is offered when requests are made. I am mindful that thresholds exist for the purchase of certain types of equipment. My concern is whether this can influence the sale of equipment that is below the threshold level but not necessarily fit for purpose. I am concerned that to to process requests ‘keep it below the threshold’ may become an influencing factor.
I did discuss threshold rates at the Perth Hills Expo and there was a general consensus that these were lower than required , even from NDIS staff but there was some debate as to increasing them and what impacts this would have on equipment supplies.
I believe all suppliers operating in disability need to be registered with NDIS and work with both allied health care professionals and clients to determine what equipment is appropriate. I feel there should be mechanisms in place to allow appeals when outcomes and recommendations don’t go the clients way.
With NDIS I have started to receive requests for information regarding the life of equipments and the servicing of equipment. Working in communuity disability I have seen instances of equipment being sold and forgotten so never getting appropriate servicing. I believe that as an NDIS provider of equipment there should be a matrix built in that allow the provider to cost servicing without competeing with other service providers and this should occur at the time of purchase.In essence the providers supports the ownership of the equipment throughout its life.
Finally there have been questions asked on the life expectancy of equipment. This is a very difficult request to answer as in so many cases equipment wear and tear is dependent on use. If a company advocates a 20 year life expectancy then is that equipment better than a 10 year life expectancy. What evidence are they using to determine life expectancy. With this in mind I believe these paramters should be set by NDIS as “average life expectancy figures’ and thus prevent providers making inaccurate or false claims about products.
My final comment relates to the supply an ongoing support to clients of equipment. I believe the NDIS matrix should include a requirement for suppliers to provide consultancy onsite and training on the use of equipment at the time of supply and a minimum annual refresher, be it at the time of servicing or at the request when new staff/carers/support workers are recruited.