Bill Shorten: NDIS packages are freeing up vital hospital beds

The NDIS is helping disabled Australians lead better lives. <i>Photo: Getty</i>

The NDIS is helping disabled Australians lead better lives. Photo: Getty

Hundreds of people with a disability who had been forced to sit in hospital despite being ready for discharge have been able to leave.

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten says an average of 1400 hospital beds across Australia every night contain people with a disability who are medically fit but unable to leave while waiting for their support packages.

Mr Shorten said 350 people have been able to get their NDIS packages sorted and discharged, saving taxpayers about $1 million a day with a night in hospital racking up an average of $2500.

“It’s a slow moving thing, the river of reform, when you’re talking about the NDIS but we’ve had some early wins,” Mr Shorten told Sky News on Sunday.

The number of NDIS participants fighting for legal recourse has also been significantly reduced.

Shrinking backlog

The backlog of cases in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has been cut down from 4500 to 2000 since Labor took power in May.

“Another 2500 this Christmas not stuck in the AAT,” the minister said.

Mr Shorten flagged that conversations needed to be had with state counterparts about supports outside the NDIS to avoid it becoming overwhelmed with demand.

“One of the challenges is the NDIS was never intended to be the only lifeboat in the ocean,” he said.

“The mix of federal state funding has been drifting towards the Commonwealth picking up 63 per cent.

“So we’re going to have to have some fair dinkum conversations about what are the other supports were providing people with disability outside the NDIS so everyone doesn’t flock to that.”


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