While there is much to commend about the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme the reality is its roll-out has not been as successful as many would have hoped.
A necessary, and long overdue, attempt to better co-ordinate disability services, the scheme was marketed as a one-stop shop to streamline access to services by those living with a disability and to save money through economies of scale and the elimination of duplicated services.
While these are commendable goals the fact is there have been numerous unintended consequences.
One is the imminent denial of access to overnight respite care through Marymead to an estimated 80 Canberra families caring for children with disabilities.
This is a direct consequence of the low level of funding allocated to respite care under the NDIS model.
Marymead has told Fairfax that because of the limited resources it is no longer able to offer NDIS funded places to families with children with "high needs". That is about 70 per cent of the 120 families registered for such care when the NDIS came on line.
The immediate result has been that those families who need these services the most, and whose love, care and devotion saves the community hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars annually, are no longer able to call time out.
Canberra's respite care crisis is just one of many canaries in the coal mine and comes at an interesting time given the productivity commission will release the report from its independent review of the NDIS this month.
That report was commissioned by the treasurer, Scott Morrison, back in January following a growing list of complaints about the way in which the scheme was being rolled out.
These included fears the trained workforce needed to deliver the wide range of services that had been promised did not exist in many areas, that care costs were rising faster than the inflation rate and that individuals were not able to access necessary services such as podiatry and speech therapy.
Concerns had also been expressed that the online portal was both unreliable and hard to navigate.
The productivity commission's initial position paper, released on June 13, was scathing.
One conclusion was that "the speed of the NDIS rollout, as specified in bilateral agreements between governments, has put the scheme's success and financial sustainability at risk".
This had been "manifest in poor outcomes such as confusion for many participants about planning processes; rushed phone planning conversations; inadequate pre-planning support for participants; problems for providers with registering, pricing and receiving payment; and a lack of effective communication".
The NDIS is a $22 billion commitment that is being funded by the whole nation. Those responsible for its implementation are facing a challenging task, but need to ensure we do not leave behind some of our most vulnerable community members as we attempt to move to a better system.