Parents of children with profound and complex disabilities fear for their children's lives as a result of the government's privatisation of disability services.
The NSW Labor Opposition has joined with parents who are calling on the Liberal-National Government to suspend the privatisation of their children's group home pending findings from an upcoming Parliamentary inquiry. Their children live at the Summer Hill Centre, a high care disability group home which was established to meet the needs of people with profound disabilities. Their complex needs require the intensive medical supports which are delivered on-site at the Centre by highly experienced and qualified medical staff.
Parents have been raising their concerns about the privatisation of the medical model group home for years. Despite assurances of continuity of care, they still have no confidence that the level and quality of service, that is critical to their children's health, will be maintained under a privatised model.
The crux of the issue is that medical services are not funded under the NDIS, only disability services, so a private provider solely operating on NDIS funding will not receive funding for medical staff like registered nurses.
Meanwhile, parents have been told by department officials that the group home's transfer to a private provider is imminent.
The Berejiklian Government has used the NDIS as an excuse to wash its hands of all responsibility for people with disability, even when the NDIS does not provide the equivalent funding or level of service.
Despite repeated representations to the Minister to address this looming crisis, the Liberal-National Government continues to stick its head in the sand while parents and carers become increasingly fearful.
Quotes attributable to Acting Shadow Minister for Disability Services Kate Washington
“The government just doesn't seem to get it - people's lives are literally at stake here.
"This is not a process that can be rushed; it must be done with extreme care and caution. Instead, whilst the NDIS has been rolling out across NSW, the Berejiklian government has been privatising State-run disability services with obscene haste.
"The residents of the Summer Hill Centre home are some of the most fragile and vulnerable people in the state. Any change to the quality or level of care could lead to life threatening complications very quickly.
"I call on Minister Williams to suspend the privatisation process until the outcome of the upcoming Parliamentary inquiry. It's the least he could do to ease the fears of families who are fighting for the lives of their children.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen
"I've been raising the plight of the residents and their families with the Berejiklian government since I was elected.
"All the families have received from one Minister after the next are patronising platitudes that have given them no confidence that their children's complex needs will be met under a privatised model.
"These parents are not asking for much from this government - they just want their children's level of care maintained - because the consequences of any changes are life threatening.”