In the wake of a new government-commissioned report finding high levels of discrimination against disabled Australians, there’s been widespread criticism of the Government for moving too slowly to implement the recommendations.
Key points:The Government’s plan is designed to help people with chronic health conditions pay their bills and is not yet liveableIn response, the Government has made changes to the Disability Insurance Scheme, which include removing the requirement for people with mental health conditions to meet the same standards as the rest of the populationThe Disability Insurance Board is calling for the Government to scrap the requirement to meet a mental health standardIn a new report, the Disability Advisory Panel found that the Government was moving too fast to implement some of the recommendations in the new disability policy, including a mental wellbeing standard for those with chronic conditions.
The Government has been forced to respond, saying it will take action to remove a mental healthcare standard and improve the system.
In a statement, Minister for Disability Services David Seymour said the Government is taking steps to provide a better quality of life for Australians with chronic and chronic disability, including making the mental health assessment of people who have a disability more rigorous and making sure that people with a disability are able to afford their medical care.
“We know that there are people with disabilities who have difficulties paying their bills, particularly those with mental illness,” Mr Seymour said.
“In order to make sure that these people can access the quality of care they need, the disability system needs to be better managed, the system needs better training, and the system is also going to need better monitoring of people with conditions.”
The disability service is currently in the process of developing a new disability standard, which will allow people with severe mental health and disability conditions to pay their health bills and be able to have their benefits extended to cover their costs.
In its submission to the report, Disability Services Minister Rob Stokes highlighted the problems facing people with serious mental health issues and said the disability services are working to address these issues.
“People with severe disability, and particularly those who are suffering from serious mental illness, often struggle to pay the bills they have to deal with,” Mr Stokes said.
Mr Stokes told the ABC the Government would be looking at how to ensure people with health conditions are able pay their medical bills.
“What we’re doing right now is working with our disability services, and we’re working with them to make the mental wellbeing assessment of the people that have a condition as robust as possible,” he said.”[It’s] going to be a very thorough mental wellbeing check that will take place in the Disability Services system, so that when you have a mental illness diagnosis, it will be considered on the basis of your physical impairment, not just as an excuse to have your medical bill paid.”
Mr Seymour said people with certain conditions should not have to go through the mental healthcare process, and that the system was in the middle of a major overhaul.
“Our priority is to make it easier for people to access the health services they need,” he told the program.
“This will mean that the Disability Standards for people will be a standard, not a standard for people who are people who we are not looking to exclude or exclude from the system, or exclude people who aren’t people that we’re not looking for.”
Mr Stokers said the system needed to be more streamlined and that people should not be asked to prove their mental health condition by presenting a doctor’s letter or the equivalent.
“You cannot prove you have mental illness in this country, you have to prove you’ve been assessed on the spot,” he explained.
“So, if you have been assessed as having a mental disorder, then you’re not allowed to get a benefit because you’ve not been assessed.”
Mr Sutcliffe, a disability support worker, said there were currently around 100 people in the system with a mental disability and that a person with a severe mental illness had to go to court for the support they needed to pay bills.
He said the plan would help people who might not have the resources to pay for the medical bill.
“A person might have to get the support from their family, from their friends, or from the community, to make their way through the system,” Mr Sutcliffe said.
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