Leading the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Queensland: Realising our Value as Allied Health professionals in navigating a new system and achieving outcomes for patients in Townsville Health Service/Rehabilitation Unit

Mrs Richelle Carta1

1Queensland Health – Townsville Hospital and Health Service, Townsville, Australia

Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been described as the biggest social reform of a generation. Townsville and Hospital Health Service (THHS) has been at the forefront of the initial NDIS launch and rollout, for patients who have been admitted with new injuries resulting in permanent functional impairments. We have realised the value of Allied Health interventions and negotiation by ensuring that we provide continuum of care to eligible patients and seamless transition and discharge planning into the community.

Given the Scheme’s promise to ‘support a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers’, it is important to examine the degree to which its objectives and principles are being achieved in practice from health professionals and from the perspectives of service users. Townsville’s experience, in leading the way, provides invaluable information to other Hospital and Health services regarding challenges which can be expected, and how they can be addressed.

As with any new reforms come trials and tribulations.  THHS Rehabilitation Unit will present our experiences thus far, on how we have navigated and implemented the new system to ensure our patients receive sufficient funding and optimum care on discharge, to live in their community as independently as possible. Case examples will be provided to illustrate these processes and how we as an acute health service have overcome some of the process hurdles.


Richelle Carta, has been working as a Clinical Social Worker in the Health and Disability Sector for the past 19years. Richelle’s passion and clinical excellence in this field of disability and rehabilitation has enabled her to support people who have traumatic and complex injuries/illnesses to have a significant quality of life and positive outcomes.

Richelle has a vested interest in supporting people as she also lives with a high level spinal cord injury since the age of 13years.  Richelle strongly believes this has helped shape her to be the Advanced Clinical Social Worker she is today. Richelle more recently has seen her play a key role as one of the Townsville Hospitals NDIS Champion/representative where she has been instrumental in the roll out and launch of NDIS in Townsville since 2015.

NAHC Conferences

2007, Hobart (7th NAHC)

2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

2012, Canberra (9th NAHC)

2013, Brisbane (10th NAHC)

2015, Melbourne (11th NAHC)

2017, Sydney (12th NAHC)

2019, Brisbane (13th NAHC)

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