The 2019 NDIS Announcement


Whilst it sometimes can seem that our industry has to fight harder than others to see equal opportunities higher up being the “new kids” on the allied health block, this never stops our advocacy team and members continuing their dedicated efforts for industry parity.  

As we continue our 30 year celebrations and reflect on the successes of the industry during this time, the 2019 NDIS Announcement is still fresh in our minds which resulted in some exciting wins for our Accredited Exercise Physiologists providing support through the NDIS.

February 2019
In further lobbying efforts to have Exercise Physiology listed under the NDIS Daily Living registration category, ESSA undertook a systematic literature review (see “ESSA Evidence Report for NDIS Category Change") on the validity of Exercise Physiology intervention regarding significant NDIS disability domains. The report was submitted to the NDIA along with case studies highlighting the effectiveness of Exercise Physiology services for disability.

ESSA was confident that the accumulation and supply of relevant evidence would strengthen our case for change.

June 2019
With great excitement, ESSA was pleased to announce the outcome of our long-term advocacy and lobbying efforts and share the Hon Stuart Robert MP’s media release of the NDIS increased price limits.

Exercise Physiology had been included in the Improved Daily Living Skills Category in addition to the Improved Health and Wellbeing Category, creating more opportunity for choice and control for NDIS participants.

“This was a great outcome for ESSA and our Accredited Exercise Physiologists who provide significant help to improve the quality of life of those individuals living with disabilities,” said Katie Lyndon who was the ESSA Policy & Practice Innovation Manager at the time of the announcement.

“Importantly, this change will create more opportunity for NDIS participants to exercise choice and control over their access to services that will help optimise their health outcomes and quality of life.”

With the inclusion of Improved Daily Living, Accredited Exercise Physiologists could then also apply directly to the NDIS Commission to provide services under Support Coordination and Early Childhood.

“We were pleased that policy makers listened to ESSA to provide better support of the Exercise Physiology workforce in the delivery of services within the NDIS,” added Mrs Lyndon.

“There are multiple physical, mental, and social benefits attributed to exercise interventions and this policy change has ultimately helped improve the quality of life of Australians living with a disability.”

August 2019
After the announcement in June, August also produced more great news for our Accredited Exercise Physiologists and the industry. Our ongoing lobbying efforts in the NDIS space had been heard once again as the NDIS Commission advised that Accredited Exercise Physiologists had been approved to apply under the Therapeutic Supports registration group.

This inclusion of Exercise Physiology in the Therapeutic Supports category has created even more opportunities for NDIS participants to exercise choice and control over the services they receive to optimise their health outcomes and quality of life.

This announcement also ensured greater parity for Accredited Exercise Physiologists alongside other allied health professionals and increased their scope of service delivery within the scheme.

“We were pleased that policy makers listened to ESSA and provided better support for both NDIS participants and the Exercise Physiology workforce,” said Katie Lyndon.

Since 2019
Although 2020 saw the health care system turned upside down due to a certain pandemic, ESSA continues to fight for Australians to have greater access to exercise interventions and to see pay parity for Accredited Exercise Physiologists.

ESSA’s long-term advocacy strategy has targeted government at all levels, as well as industry stakeholders and community groups to collaborate and build an active nation where all Australians are supported to be and stay active.

Although more work is required to see pay parity between Accredited Exercise Physiologists and other allied health professions delivering NDIS supports, this win in 2019 was important to ESSA and our professionals working in the industry to help better support those living with disability under the NDIS.

ESSA will continue our advocacy efforts to ensure all Australians, no matter their abilities, age, sex or location have access to safe and effective exercise interventions.

A huge thanks goes to the ESSA staff and members who worked tirelessly on accomplishing this NDIS win (and continues to do so) with notable names such as Katie Lyndon, Beth Sheehan and Anna Harrington.
Good news stories from the NDIS
Jack, aged 24
Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge had been a long-standing goal of Jack’s who lived with Diplegic Cerebral Palsy with a GMFCS Level 2. To achieve his goal, Jack and his family realised that he needed more than a general exercise program.

Through creating an individualised, progressive and activity specific training program with his Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Freya Clayhills at BJC Health, Jack was able to build up his capacity, strength, fitness, and confidence to perform the climb.

However, there was one more hurdle – the Bridge Climb administrators needed to be convinced that Jack could complete the climb. Freya was given a Bridge Climb Checklist to be completed before the climb.

Jack and Freya worked together over the next 5 months to achieve this goal by checking off activities on the Bridge Climb Checklist along the way.

The end result was that it couldn’t have gone better! Jack successfully completed the Bridge Climb with his family by his side on the 20 September 2018.

Jack’s mum reflected on Jack’s experience completing the Bridge Climb: “The Bridge Climb was fantastic. It was raining in the morning but cleared up and we had a beautiful cool day; it was perfect. The climb was harder than I expected for Jack, heaps of stairs, and at one stage I was a bit concerned he mightn’t make it, but the guide was lovely. She was encouraging without being patronising and very good at distracting Jack. He had a couple of rests on the stairs and the descent was much less strenuous for him so that was a relief. He was very chuffed and satisfied, though very sore the next day! It couldn’t have gone better. Thanks so much for all of BJC Health’s support and help in getting Jack ‘climb ready’. Now we are just wondering what the next goal will be!”

Contributed by Joel Bromley and Frey Clayhills, Accredited Exercise Physiologists at BJC Health in 2018.

Freya and Jack

Jack's mum and Jack completing the Sydney Bridge Climb

Emma and Elizabeth
Emma, aged 9
By working hard with her Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Elizabeth Stride, Emma can now enjoy riding her bike. The information below was provided by Emma’s mum, Frankie.

“Emma has had a modified bike since she was four years old. Emma and her bike have visited the local park each day, which involved me pushing and steering for Emma due to her strength and coordination difficulties. Since meeting an amazing exercise physiologist, Emma has progressed so far; she can now ride her bike downhill, steering, pedaling and ringing the bell all at the same time. What fun! This has been achieved with consistent twice weekly sessions, which have turned into the week’s highlights.

Emma initially concentrated on learning how to steer her bike for herself and from there it has been so much fun to watch her able to enjoy her bike without me participating – apart from going up hills! Emma is a happier child now that she has the power and ammunition to make positive physical outcomes occur for herself. Elizabeth really knows how to make this therapy fun, exciting and self-motivating for Emma, she does a great job.

One of the outcomes from this process is that Emma’s surgery that was scheduled for this year has been put off due to her recent increase in mobility and range of motion. Surgery is now scheduled for 2020 which is a huge relief.

Emma is so proud of herself with her achievements. It has done so much for her general outlook and I am just loving watching my daughter thrive. I have been able to step back in some areas and Emma’s confidence is improving.

I find it amazing that in all the years before the NDIS I had never heard of Exercise Physiology, when the benefits for people like Emma are so vast. I am grateful to our round-squared consultant, Sam, for putting us in touch with Elizabeth.”

Contributed by Elizabeth Stride, Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Founder of Moving 4 Health in 2019.
Fasiu, aged 62
In 2015, Fasiu was diagnosed with JK321 neoplasma, a rare blood disorder. Very quickly Fasiu was faced with the tough reality that his only option to survive was a bilateral lower limb amputation at his knees. Fasiu had no option but to go ahead with the surgery. Hospitalised then from June 2015 until August 2016, Fasiu returned home to adjust to his new normal.

Fast forward to 2018, and Fasiu was provided his new prosthetics, but even after 12+ months, Fasiu was still heavily reliant on his wheelchair for mobility. Determined to improve his balance and better manage his daily living activities, Fasiu’s new goal became that he wanted to return to “as normal a life as possible”.

After being referred to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Fasiu saw a dramatic improvement to his health and lifestyle after just three months of his exercise program with Tracey. One of the best parts of Fasiu’s story though, is the social connections and friendships he made during his treatment, including being a mentor for other amputee patients.

Fasiu has reflected fondly on his exercise journey with Tracey:
"I came to Tracey to improve my balance and be able to complete activities of daily living with greater ease. Three months into the exercise intervention and my health has improved dramatically. Exercise has helped in reducing my blood pressure, managing my blood sugar and insulin levels, helped control my weight, and made me stronger. Completing everyday tasks has become easier, and I can move about with more confidence too. Thank you so much Tracey for your professionalism and support. It got me to where I am today! The sky is the limit now."

Contributed by Tracey Fredericks, Accredited Exercise Physiologist at SoulFit Woonona in 2020.

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Tracey and Fasiu

Supporting health through exercise for 30 years 

To celebrate 30 years of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), we are reflecting on 30 stories which commemorate the profound impact the exercise and sports science industry and its professionals have had on our communities, and how they have benefited the health landscape in Australia.

Click here to read more like this one