The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has welcomed the final National Disability Insurance Scheme report and reiterated calls for GPs to be better utilised.
It comes following the release today of the final report into the scheme.
RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said that GPs must be front and centre.
“It is concerning that the report doesn’t deeply delve into healthcare for people with a disability, including general practice care,” she said.
“The Government must recognise that GPs play a vital role in disability care, and barriers do exist. For example, there is no Medicare patient rebate for NDIS paperwork. This puts a huge burden on the patient to attend a consult, and it is even more onerous for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients because they require more paperwork to support their NDIS applications.
“If GPs are better utilised, we can help make the scheme more efficient. We have in-depth knowledge of our patients and their individual circumstances. So, if we are supported to liaise directly with NDIS service provides, we can ensure the right kind of support and avoid duplicated services. Let’s make sure that GPs are a key part of the process of improving the NDIS, otherwise it will be a massive missed opportunity.”
The RACGP President did welcome many of the report’s proposals.
“Improving the NDIS must be a priority and this report contains many promising recommendations,” she said.
“It is positive news that the report recommends investing in foundational supports and improving information and advice for people with disability. We have long called for clear information on NDIS processes and concerted action to ensure funding is allocated as fairly as possible.
“I support improving connections between mainstream services and the NDIS. There must be much greater collaboration between GPs, other healthcare professionals and the disability sector so as not to fragment care. The College also welcomes the report’s recommendation concerning a fairer and more consistent participant pathway. Ask almost any GP and they will tell you that making the process of applying for the NDIS must be more transparent and straightforward. We spend so much time bogged down in red tape trying to help patients access the scheme. So, let’s make sure NDIS forms completed by GPs are fit for purpose and integrated with general practice clinical information systems. Every minute saved is valuable for GPs, practice teams and the patients we care for.
“Finally, it welcome to see the report recommending improved access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. This is something that we have consistently called for, particularly since Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability face unique barriers to accessing support services and require culturally safe disability services and supports.
“GPs and practice teams are crucial in ensuring people with disabilities get the care and support they need, while also making the NDIS more efficient and sustainable. We look forward to working with the Government to ensure no patients are left behind.”
In its submission to the inquiry the RACGP called for:
- greater involvement of GPs in NDIS planning to improve efficiency and better target supports to patients
- access to culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and improve access to supports in rural and remote areas.
- increased collaboration to enable team care between GPs, other health professionals and the disability sector to prevent inappropriate supports and duplicated services for patients
- GPs to be appropriately renumerated to care for patients with disability and help them apply for the NDIS and provide clearer information and education to help GPs navigate the scheme
- NDIS funding to be allocated appropriately and fairly by giving treating medical professionals input into individual plan approval and funding and establishing a fraud mechanism to scrutinise service providers.
RACGP spokespeople are available for interview.
About the RACGP
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (we will respond promptly to all media inquiries).