Frontier disability service expands to new fields
MY TOWN: A FRONTIER medical service is expanding to new fields in an effort to bring disability support to more rural mining communities.
Twelve months after Clermont Country Care opened its doors, founder Alec McConnell announced the service would launch in Collinsville.
The service, which helps people navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme and provides broad services and fills gaps in the disability system, was launched by the former Mackay resident to address the shocking lack of disability services in Clermont.
"We're getting services to people who have a human right to these services, but haven't been able to because of their location," Mr McConnell said.
The service will help people from Collinsville to Middlemount, to Blackall, filling gaps where services have not been accessible.
While the NDIS was launched in Clermont three years ago, Mr McConnell said a lack of support meant many had fallen through the cracks.
He said when the practice opened, more than two years after the NDIS launch, there were only four people properly registered in the system.
"The NDIS described itself as not a thin market," he said, "but out here there wasn't a market at all. There were no services."
Today Clermont Country Care works with dozens of people from Clermont and surrounding mining communities to access the NDIS, he said.
But many Clermont residents are caught in a bureaucratic trap, due to limited medical services.
To apply to the system, Mr McConnell said his clients needed to prove that they needed the service using medical records.
But with limited access to services, he said, many could prove that they needed help.
"Evidence is easier to build in the city than out here," Mr McConnell said.
Areas with the least services, were also burdened with the greatest need.
"There is a disproportionate amount of people living with a disability in the region," Mr McConnell said.
Using census data, he estimated that one in five people in The Gemfields either were living with a disability, or were a carer for someone with a disability.
"People who are in need of support to have full and prosperous lives have just gone without or the community has stepped in to support that person," Mr McConnell said.