Rollout of the NDIS in Queensland. Investigation of the impact on practitioners working in the remote, rural and regional primary health care sector, and on service planning and delivery

Jo Symons1, Melissa Johnstone1, Dave Wellman1, Davina Sanders

1Health Workforce Queensland, GPO Box 2523 Brisbane, QLD 4001,

The roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) from July 2016, marks a major change in the way support is funded for people with a permanent disability in Australia. To date, information sharing and service development has placed the focus on eligible participants of the scheme, their families and the disability sector itself. However, the impact on the broader Primary Health Care (PHC) workforce has not been investigated. Furthermore, the cross-sectoral planning and service delivery demands within remote, rural and regional communities have not been clarified in practice, or in the literature. What is known is that people with a disability, their families/carers and communities will have the best health, wellbeing and quality of life outcomes if a collaborative planning and implementation approach is taken. In Qld, there were three NDIS transition sites: Townsville, Charters Towers and Palm Island that commenced in early 2016. An exploratory study was undertaken to investigate the early NDIS experiences of practitioners and organisations working in the PHC sector in the transition sites through purposive sampling and structured interviews.

Findings will support the wider remote, rural and regional PHC workforce through the changing disability service delivery environment and will underpin the development of integrated service models.

Recommendations provided will address the support and implementation challenges practitioners working in the PHC sector have faced, and opportunities to develop integrated cross sectoral service planning and delivery for scheme participants.


Jo Symons is a Physiotherapist with a breadth of rural and remote experience, having worked clinically and at all levels of management in a primary health care organisation based in Mount Isa, Qld. Jo has operated a consultancy business, specialising in primary health care service modeling that meets the experienced needs of rural and remote communities. Jo’s current role is Manager Health Workforce & Service Planning for Health Workforce Queensland, where she has the opportunity to develop sustainable service delivery models and workforce solutions for a broad range of clients in the rural and remote PHC sector.