CEO Update 27 January
27 January, 2022
The RAT race…
Some of you will have read the statement by Minister for the NDIS 24/1/22 which indicates that the NDIS will permit participants to access their core budget to purchase Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) which can be used by them and their support worker/s in particular circumstances. The Minister’s media release can be read here.
Whilst Bayley House welcomes any additional resources which are aimed at keeping people with disabilities safe and supported in COVID times, the means by which this proposal intends to make RATs available is highly problematic. A press release by Laurie Leigh, CEO of National Disability Services (NDS) which is the peak body for disability service providers can be read here.
Specifically, Bayley House needs to be able to source (and be funded for) significant numbers of RATs if their use is to be a strategic component of how we deliver supports in a group setting and across our accommodation services. The notion that participants will purchase RATs and then make them available to their support worker/s may be applicable in some very particular circumstances (1:1 personal care for example) but certainly is not practical for most of our services.
I appreciate that many families would like us to be able to have every staff member use a RAT prior to every day/shift. Very rough calculations would put the cost of this to Bayley House at approximately $200,000 per year. This is not sustainable without government assistance. We continue to access whatever RATs we can which are supplied by State or Federal Government and we have purchased as many as we can source in order that we can supply them to workforce who are close contacts in accordance with government workforce directions.
We will endeavour to keep our clients and workforce safe and continue to deliver valuable support services consistently and reliably. We support the NDS in calling on Minister Reynolds to make funding available in order that disability service providers can claim the cost of RATs directly from the NDIA.
On a positive note, day services returned last week with minimal fuss or disruption. In recent weeks we have managed a number of COVID positive staff and clients with relatively minor impact on service delivery. Whilst the Omicron variant continues to have a major impact across our community I am pleased that Bayley House is managing and containing outbreaks efficiently and effectively and we look forward to an exciting 2022.
Take care and stay safe…