There has been great excitement in our family with the arrival of baby Joe, first son of my first daughter.
One of the offerings promised by the government – I’m not quite sure which level, actually – is one home visit by a midwife/mother craft nurse.
My daughter duly rang to make a time for the visit. This is the information she received.
- The service goes on holiday for four weeks from mid-December. So bad luck if you have a baby in that time period.
- The call centre to make bookings is only open from 9am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm, weekdays.
- The operator asks an amazing number of intrusive questions, including the suggestion that it would be better to wander down to the local Infant Welfare Centre, or whatever it is called.
- The questions include: is it easy to park outside your house? (The appointment is abandoned if the nurse cannot get a park, she was told.) Does the nurse have to take off her shoes to enter the house. (Another reason for abandoment.) Are renovations being undertaken? Is there a history of domestic violence in the house? Is there a history of drug or alchol abuse in the house? And the questions went on.
- She has managed to make a time for an appointment, nearly three weeks after the baby was born, but we shall see.
In the meantime, on the recommendation of her obstetrician, she secured the services of a private nurse, who came two days after Joe and mother left hospital. My daughter texted her to say that an hour after the original time would be better for her and that was no problem. She visited for about an hour and half.
She was excellent – matter of fact, informative, empathetic and worth every penny.
All this got me thinking about the challenges that face an expanded NDIS. If governments cannot even organise the relative simple task of providing home-based assistance to new mothers, one really wonders how this much larger scale project can ever be achieved efficiently and in ways that meet the needs of people with disabilities.
By the way, Joe is flourshing.