Father fighting National Disability Scheme changes for son

Doug Carmody wants to keep his son with the same provider.
Doug Carmody wants to keep his son with the same provider.

THE father of an intellectually handicapped man living in State Government-run accommodation says changes to the system, prompted by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), are “messing with vulnerable people’s lives”.

Doug Carmody’s son has lived with four housemates in Disability Services Commission (DSC) accommodation in Hamilton Hill for 15 years.

The housemates are visited daily by a carer who cooks them meals, takes them out and provides general support.

But they were informed recently that they had been listed as a transition house to be moved to a non-government service provider.

While the men will be free to remain at their home, Mr Carmody was uneasy about changing up the carers who know the men and their needs “like the back of their hand”.

“The most disappointing thing about being forced to choose a private provider is that we don’t know why we are being asked to change something that is not broken,” Mr Carmody said.

“The decision to privatise these services is messing with vulnerable people’s lives.

“We have found that the DSC is offering some families the choice to stay with them as a provider. This is what we want.”

In late 2013, Disability Services Minister Helen Morton announced 60 per cent of the DSC’s accommodation services would be transitioned to the non-government sector to prepare WA for the introduction of the NDIS and to provide more individualised support.

Fifty-nine people have transitioned to new service providers since then, with Mr Carmody’s son one of 188 people still to make the shift.

Ms Morton said a transition team was working with families to help them choose a suitable service. “There is no timeframe for this decision-making,” she said.

“The Commission has consistently acknowledged this is a big decision and shouldn’t be rushed. It will take as long as it takes.”

Ms Morton said feedback from others who had made the shift to a new provider had been positive, highlighting increased independence in managing daily tasks, and more involvement in social, sporting and recreational activities.

“The transition gives people the opportunity to choose the services and support they want,” she said.