Mum's dream for her son shattered
CHRISTMAS and cricket is what makes the Burrell family happy, but those innocent celebrations are on hold this year.
Gladstone mum, Michelle Burrell, says she is broken and devastated after her latest attempt to get funding for an automatic wheelchair for her son Jordan was denied.
Her cheeky 17-year-old, with a fascination for shoes, cricket and Christmas, has an intellectual disability and is unable to walk.
After five years of chasing funding for an automatic wheelchair, Ms Burrell said her dream had finally come true as Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme had approved her application.
But two days later, on December 7 that dream was crushed when she was told Jordan would not receive funding for a new wheelchair.
"I had a lot of faith in people and departments."
"I had faith in the government but now I feel so disenchanted and just broken," Ms Burrell said.
The wheelchair would've meant Jordan could enjoy the outdoors more often, and he could gain some independence.
It would also help Ms Burrell, whose health is declining as caring for her son begins to take its toll.
"It's soul destroying ... I'm frightened that I won't be able to look after Jordan in a couple of years," she said.
A letter from MASS to Mrs Burrell said the funding would not be given because she signed a National Disability Insurance Scheme plan before the application was finalised.
Ms Burrell disputed this and said her application was made before she signed up to the new NDIS.
A Metro South Health spokesperson said MASS and National Disability Insurance Agency were working together to try to supply Jordan's needs.
But any funding could be another 12 months away when Ms Burrell reviews their NDIS plan.
"The arrangement between MASS and the NDIA is that if an NDIS plan is implemented prior to a MASS raising a purchase order then NDIS will take responsibility for the item required," the statement said.
They said there were a number of safety concerns regarding the wheelchair and its transfer into the Burrell family's vehicle that needed to be addressed.
"MASS and NDIA continue to work together to ensure the wheelchair can be provided for Ms Burrell's son as soon as possible," the spokesperson said.
With tears swelling in her eyes, Ms Burrell said the process was tedious, confusing and covered in red tape.
"I'm told to not complain about the disability services, to be patient, but I can't go on any more," she said.
"We pay our taxes, we do the right thing and try to be good people ... I don't see how you can deny a child equipment they need."
The MSH spokesperson described the transition to NDIS, the new funding model for disability support services, as significant.
"It can be difficult to absorb/understand all the processes from the variety of information provided," the statement said.
A National Disability Services report released last month warned the speed of the NDIS rollout would potentially effect service quality.
The state of the sector report found 74 per cent of the sector believed the government did not respond to the needs of organisation and 67 per cent said the NDIA was not working well with providers.
Topping the list for their concerns in 2017 were "poor quality NDIS plan".
"The acceleration of the scheme from 30,000 participants in the three-year trial to more than 100,000 a year has tested NDIS systems and processes," the report said.
Meanwhile Ms Burrell worries her family will soon be forced to move to Brisbane to live closer to services and specialists.
Her son's condition is gradually worsening. In the past four years he has lost most of his ability to walk.
"I love Gladstone and I love the local people, but we just aren't getting the support we need," she said.