Several members have contacted me over the past few days asking for any new guidance about how disability service providers should prepare for a local incidence of COVID-19.
Potential issues for providers and participants are becoming increasingly evident – including staff shortages, shortages of protective equipment like masks and sanitiser, and how to navigate a temporary service shutdown.
Last week I raised likely impacts of the virus with the Minister’s Office, the Agency and the NDIS Commission, to ensure these issues and their impact on the disability sector are considered as part of the Government’s planning processes. Similarly, NDS State and Territory Managers have been raising the same impacts in their jurisdictions.
NDS is actively seeking responses from the Federal Government, its departments and agencies, on a range of issues raised by the virus, including:
- How and when providers will get access to appropriate PPE for their workforce
- Access to a phone number or other contact which providers can use to get information about the virus and its implications for their business, service provision and workforce
- Support for the sector to address a range of industrial relations, workforce and service issues caused by the virus’s spread.
In the meantime, please refer to our Coronavirus hub for links to advice from health departments, and Work Health and Safety regulators, among others.
And if you do not already have a Business Continuity Plan then going through this process will help you to consider likely issues you would foreseeably encounter, and what is within your control to prepare for and mitigate. Advice and templates can be found on the Australian Government’s business.gov.au website.