Industry leaders in the disability care sector are pleading for help to keep their doors open and for personal protective equipment for carers amid the coronavirus outbreak, warning highly vulnerable disabled Australians are at risk of losing their critical care services, the Brisbane Times reports.
A group of leading disability sector chief executives have written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison warning many disability care organisations will simply go under without further support and the sector has a critical role in ensuring hospitals were not swamped with cases of COVID-19.
The coalition of non-affiliated National Disability Insurance Scheme providers has warned support packages being offered to the sector is “manifestly inadequate” to save the lives of people with a disability, to keep people in jobs and to ensure the sector’s ongoing survival.
“With limited cash reserves to support our clients and workforce through the COVID-19 crisis, a huge number of disability providers – including some of the largest – confront insolvency within six months, if not earlier, leaving no service for those people with disability to return to once the pandemic has been brought under control,” the letter, sent earlier this week, says.
The group also says the future of staff caring for Australians with the most severe disabilities who are in full-time residential care is at risk because they have not been guaranteed access to equipment such as masks, goggles and protective clothing.
Karenza Louis-Smith, the chief executive officer of Melbourne-based carers organisation ermha 365, said the government needed to treat the disability sector the same way it had approached aged care.
Aged care workers have been granted priority for COVID-19 testing, will be given specialist preventative training for the virus, be paid a retention bonus and access to protective clothing.
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