IDEA Services support staff 'shell-shocked' by decision to withdraw from services

E tu advocate Alistair Duncan said the cuts are a major and significant event for IDEA Services.
JEAN PAUL CHASSENET/FAIRFAX NZ

E tu advocate Alistair Duncan said the cuts are a major and significant event for IDEA Services.

The future of about 20 per cent of IDEA Services clients is uncertain as the national disability service provider prepares to cut several support programmes.

IDEA Services support workers and E tu union have voiced their concerns about the changes, which one support worker said had left staff "shell-shocked".

More than 6500 people with learning disabilities were supported by IDEA Services in the 2015/2016 financial year.

When the exit was confirmed on Wednesday, an IDEA Services executive spokeswoman said about 1200 service users with learning disabilities would be affected.

READ MORE: IDEA Services plans to cut 5 per cent of its business, affecting more than 1000 service users

On Thursday, IHC New Zealand communications general manager Gina Rogers said many service users only sought a small amount of support or for a short period of time.

"We will make sure people with intellectual disabilities are well assisted to understand changes. They are at the heart of our decision making and will be well supported throughout this process as always."

IDEA Services would work with the Ministry of Health, Needs Assessment Service Co-ordination Association, other providers and individuals "to make sure we support them into a change in support that works for them", Rogers said.

IDEA Services wanted to consult with affected parties as it would "inform the way forward". It had no current time frame for the process.

Staff, clients and families were informed about the changes in a open letter outlining the organisation's decision, which was sent out from Tuesday.

Ad Feedback

IHC NZ chief executive Ralph Jones said the cuts made up only five per cent of its business.

A Canterbury support worker, who feared her job could be affected if she was named, said other workers were "shell-shocked" by the decision.

They were unprepared and not consulted about the changes, which could affect 200 support staff workers as well as many service users and their families, she said.

"Noone asked how we felt or what we thought.

"The clients rely on us. It's a withdrawal of services so important to the community."

E tu union advocate Alistair Duncan said initially many workers took to the union's closed Facebook page to voice their surprise

"Workers are divided between concern for their own jobs and future, and being worried about their clients," Duncan said.

It highlighted the calibre of staff at IDEA Services, he said.

E tu sent out letters to staff who could be affected and released a statement on their website, saying "we've told IDEA to protect jobs as they exit services".

The union planned to meet with IDEA Services on Monday to ask them about the proposed consultation process and exit strategy.

This should be a proposal, yet the language used by IHC New Zealand chief executive Ralph Jones sounded as if the decision had been already made, Duncan said.

People First New Zealand national chairman David King said people needed the full picture, otherwise they would worry.

The self advocacy organisation is led and directed by people with learning disabilities.

Communications manager Alexia Black said the changes could be hard to deal with, "especially if there is misinformation or people do not know if they will be affected".

"We think the most important things are that people and families who use IDEA Services receive the support they need to deal with this process, and that people are given full information, in ways they can understand."

New Zealand Disability Support Network chief executive Garth Bennie, in a media statement, said while the network had no specific comment to make on the IDEA Services decision, many disability support providers had to be realistic about how they could maintain their services and ensure long term viability.

"The difficulties being faced by providers accumulates to the point whether the kinds of decisions recently taken by IHC are not at all surprising, and they should be no surprise to government either," Bennie said.

"Ultimately this all creates a climate of uncertainty for people with disabilities, families and the support staff working in the sector."

The Ministry of Health did not respond by deadline.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Keeping the waterways clean

The clean-up at Otara Creek Reserve was all about keeping the waterways clear of litter and illegally dumped rubbish.

Heavy rain didn't dampen the spirits of a group of volunteers dedicated to cleaning up a creek and reserve.

Good rides take time

David Slack: That old TV ad for cheese told us good things take time. They weren't wrong, but those four simple words ...

OPINION: David Slack highlights the similarities between a high-profile motorway development and the otherworldliness of Antarctica?

A final of contrasting styles

Joel Stevens has been a key player in an unusual wingback role for Team Wellington this season

Auckland City love to be patient with the ball, but Team Wellington want to use it quickly. Who will prevail?

Wine ... and eggs?

Winemaker Tony Bish imported an oak egg from France which will be used to make chardonnay.

An unlikely combination of wine and eggs is taking wine innovation to another level.

Wellington

Gunner Billy's high-seas adventure

Cigarette-card portrait of World War I hero William 'Gunner Billy' Sanders.

The VC winner lived and died in a boy's own dream.

NZ seeks military craft

The Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol planes will replace a fleet of retiring P-3K planes.

Four airplanes from US would replace a retiring fleet of P-3K maritime patrols.

Car upside down on train tracks video

Car ends up on railway tracks after veering off road

It crashed through a fence after veering off the road in Lower Hutt, briefly disrupting the train network.

Woman hit by car dies

Churchill Dr, Crofton Downs, was closed for a while after the collision on Saturday morning.

Fatality in Gisborne while nasty crash in Wellington closes road temporarily.

Canterbury

Ewen Macdonald playing rugby video

Ewen Macdonald pictured for the first time since being released from prison.

Acquitted of killing his brother-in-law, now he's playing club rugby in Christchurch.

$100k Chch Lotto win

Jackpot not claimed, but a Christchurch punter won $100,000.

A Lotto ticket sold in Christchurch is worth $100,000. Is it yours?

Read breaks thumb in win video

All Blacks captain Kieran Read had to be taken to hospital after suffering a thumb injury.

Injury takes shine off Crusaders celebrations.

Used office furniture glut hits Chch

Faced with four floors of surplus furniture to dispose of, Canterbury District Health Board services manager Pauline ...

Christchurch is the place for a bargain as tenants in new office buildings get rid of cast offs.

Waikato

Architectural wonders revealed

The new law and management building at Waikato University was designed by Opus Architecture.

A lot of well known Waikato and Bay of Plenty buildings - and spaces - have earned accolades.

It's our turn to fix this

A medical school backed by Waikato Hospital, pictured, and Waikato University  seeks to train GPs to fill a critical ...

OPINION: The old boys have failed to fix New Zealand's doctor shortage, now it's our turn.

Join the fight for our med school

Waikato University vice-chancellor Professor Neil Quigley and Waikato District Health Board chief executive Dr Nigel Murray.

A proposed medical school in the Waikato has the Government interested.

Ref raids accounts

050711 NEWS. Robert Charles/Taranaki Daily News. Cheque/ cheque book. Money. Bank.

Colleagues blew the whistle on referee who swiped $13K and a video camera.

Taranaki

Faith in the future

Taranaki Cathedral of St Mary's, Bishop Philip Richardson, centre, blesses Dean of St Mary's Very Reverend Peter Beck as ...

New Zealand's oldest church is being strengthened and it's about more than bricks and mortar.

Mystery is solved 

An unusual search and rescue mission was launched on Mt Taranaki, after a backpack was left behind at Holly Hut.

Backpack sparked search and rescue mission after being left behind in mountain hut.

Campbell Lane opens

South Taranaki District mayor Ross Dunlop officiated at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

New development in Hawera gets the thumbs-up from residents.

To Hollywood by motorbike

Todd Holland's work appears on motorbikes in Hollywood movie Ghost in the Shell.

A small-town car painting shop has made it big, with its work featuring in Ghost in the Shell.

Manawatu

Tourism tips in the 1920s

Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles' wedding day.

Memory Lane: How to attract more tourists? The Standard had the answer 95 years ago.

13 reasons to watch

"13 Reasons Why" Star Gets A Tweet From Her Idol Lady Gaga!

Come on kids, time to watch controversial show dealing with suicide.

New act counters cyberbullying

The Harmful Digitial Communications Act was passed in July 2015.

Act helps as more than 20 people prosecuted for posting harmful content online.

NZDF civilians take strike action

Civilian employees of NZDF are on strike about pay.

Union accuses Defence Force of intimidation.

Nelson

Not a house, it's a croquet shelter

Athol Turner has a few home comforts at the Hinemoa Croquet Club shelter, including coffee and a biography of Alec Guiness.

As the Nelson City Council looks to implement a new law banning sleeping in the city we meet a man who has made a croquet club his home.

Housing crisis help?

David Barnes, right, with his son Samuel Barnes who needs medical care, pictured with the dwelling David built for him ...

A Nelson man built a home on his property for his mentally-ill son. Could this solve our housing issues?

Guilty of murder

Philip Quayle died after being attacked on a street in Cairns, Australia, about 100 metres from home.

A man who choked a Nelson man to death during a random street attack in Cairns has been found guilty of murder.

Taking a leaf out of the future video

Nelson Mail Journalist Tim O'Connell with the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle(EV) that the Nelson Mail has had on loan from ...

Tim O'Connell shares the thrills, trials and tribulations of driving an electric vehicle.

Marlborough

Meat pies and babies

Blenheim-raised comedian Tony Lyall is performing his new show Happy Hour at the NZ International Comedy Festival next week.

 Blenheim-raised comedian Tony Lyall's new show is about the things, big and small, that put a smile on people's faces.

Sound of the future

The junior Blenheim Brass Band excelled at the New Zealand National Brass Band Championships in Wellington. They used a ...

Young brass band members may one day sport colourful, plastic instruments.

Jetset health staff costing millions

District health boards across the country are grappling with a specialist shortage.

Spending on overseas medical staff is in the millions, as a union warns NZ increasingly reliant on international workers.

Hockey trio off to tackle Aussies

Andrew Nation will represent the New Zealand 35-40 years side in Whangarei.

Three hockey players will represent their country at the 2017 Trans-Tasman Masters Challenge.

South Canterbury

Parents remember 'talented' son

Rowan Yeager died following a crash near Lake Ohau on Anzac Day. This photo, supplied by friend Andrew Weatherall, shows ...

Man killed in crash near Lake Ohau was just a week off moving into house he built by hand.

Cleverley 'exonerated'

Former South Canterbury District Health Board chair Murray Cleverley has spoken out for the first time about his ...

Former SCDHB chair Murray Cleverley says decision to resign as chair was tough.

'We have got a lot of work to do'

SCDHB chief executive Nigel Trainor says the DHB is going try and improve low rates of HPV vaccination by providing more ...

SC has a 'poor' HPV vaccination rate, prompting the DHB to turn to social media.

Strong winds lash SC

Police were called to the scene of a camper van crash on Friday afternoon, thought to be caused by the wind.

Tourists escape with minor injuries after two campers blown off road south of Tekapo.

Southland

'They thought it was a dolphin' video

The French tourist arrives at Dunedin Hospital by helicopter after she was attacked by a shark while bodyboarding in ...

A French tourist who survived a shark attack wrenched its jaws from her legs, a local surfer says.

Deadly love triangle

Those on the outside described the McLeans as a "role model family".

A city's been rocked after a broken marriage ended in death. Where'd it all go wrong?

Ocean swimming 'sharks' territory'

Lydia Ward holds her wetsuit with tooth holes and the boogie board she used to fend off a 1.5m shark that bit her on the ...

A former shark attack victim has urged a tourist bitten by a shark to stay true to her passions - including ocean swimming.

Rugby's presidential change

Outgoing Rugby Southland president Donald Hay.

One Eastern Southland rugby stalwart goes, another one replaces him.

Ad Feedback