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Your views: on Ann Marie Smith, and state borders

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on NDIS care, and calls to lift border restrictions.

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Commenting on the story: Ann-Marie Smith’s death exposes systemic disability care failures

It is all very well talking about system failures, but even more importantly, Integrity Care was obviously not doing regular reviews of client care. 

I would think it mandatory to carry our regular reviews, by visiting the home, and speaking with the client.  

All the blame is being heaped on the carer, but it seems that Integrity Care failed their client, and should be investigated. – Margaret Daly

I work in the disability sector as a NDIS consultant and support coordinator.

I have met intelligent families with 3-4 years having NDIS plans that still don’t understand the system.

I see two main issues – families having no support coordination to increase their knowledge (I sat beside a planner 2 years ago that was deciding who to wipe their support coordination funding) and the NDIS using their useless community partners LAC (local area coordinator).

My question is why the participant in SA did not have a carer, public guardian, or social worker?

Unfortunately since the NDIS many of these services are no longer funded, hence making the vulnerable with no one responsible fall through the cracks.

NDIS works well, like anything, when participants have family support. – Beth Hennessy Macdonald

When I started as a Local Area Coordinator back in 2018 in Queensland I experienced a lack of advocacy for many people.

As LACs, we were just churning out the work. When we did show compassion or care for people, we were told we are becoming too involved.

Our training was what they wanted us to know, and it was different from that of the planner. There was no consistency, and it depended on the planner as to what you could and could not get through as a LAC for your participant.

The stress and workload were over the top and not sustainable. Remuneration did not fit the role.

I left that position at the start of 2020 as it was too stressful and being a social worker by trade it was going against my values and beliefs of social justice and compassion. There was a continual dissonance between what the rules were, and what was right for the participant.

I must add though, there are many people in the scheme that are in it for the wrong reasons; it’s about assisting people and helping them live better lives, not paying for everything they want. It needs to remain sustainable.

The scheme needs social workers, but we are frowned upon by the organisations that hire us.  At the organisation I worked for, the manager disliked the social worker, and this was a general feeling.

Advocacy is not encouraged, and any time advocates come in fighting for their participant the organisations hate it.

The process now is very much a Centrelink experience. Mental Health is still on the back foot and the processes are not person-centric.

As an NDIS Support Coordinator, I have more leeway to assist but we are so busy and with not enough hours allocated from the NDIA, it’s difficult.

Too many egos and power plays and a lot of money wasted in organisations who are enjoying the government contracts who have become very top-heavy and light on LACs. A lot of bullying.

Fix it. – Pamela Vandersande

I cannot see a true change in the future unless NDIS also funds legal advocates for these people.

I cannot understand how something like this was not in place for Ann-Marie Smith as she was clearly not capable of advocating for herself. 

Lack of advocacy and legal engagement is proving to be a consistent problem for people who are isolated either by their condition or through the continuous effort of trying and failing. 

Having hope for a new avenue and finding another dead end is almost as traumatic for the family or friends of someone with a disability and for that person, humiliating to show hope and feel the need to apologise to kin for a broken system they have little control over. – Angela Trichter

Commenting on the story: Business backlash as SA state of emergency extended

Governments around the world that have allowed politics to control their responses to COVID 19 have proven to be dangerous to their people.

Those governments that have relied on science and pandemic experts enjoy popular support and low infection and death rates.

I am thankful to live in South Australia and that my family and community are safe.

However, the science and analysis behind the views of the CMO should be clearly spelt out and if a business person or anyone else claims that they can rationally justify a different path, then let’s hear it. Stephen Fuller

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