Media release: Speech Pathology Australia has been misrepresented in media reports

Speech Pathology Australia, the peak body for the speech pathology profession in Australia, has been misrepresented in recent media reports relating to the pricing structures of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

A recent article in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald (6 October), “Shorten vows to stop ‘price gouging’ as providers charge more for NDIS-funded clients”, implies that Speech Pathology Australia supports the practice of price gouging or price discrimination by speech pathologists.

This is not the case.

Speech Pathology Australia contends that speech pathologists, at all times, practice ethically and professionally. This includes how they set their fees, taking into account the costs associated with providing a high-quality service to NDIS participants, many of whom have very complex disabilities and needs.

Speech Pathology Australia has contacted the journalist who wrote the article and the Deputy Federal Editor of the above mastheads, expressing its concerns about the inaccuracy of the information attributed to one of the Association’s senior staff.

The Association has requested that the article in question be corrected, and that Speech Pathology Australia be provided with the opportunity to provide accurate information about the issues discussed in the article.

“A letter has also been sent to the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Bill Shorten, indicating that Speech Pathology Australia in no way supports the actions of any allied health profession unnecessarily increasing the prices paid by clients who are supported by NDIS funding.” said Tim Kittel, National President of Speech Pathology Australia.

“We have also indicated to the Minister for the NDIS that we strongly object to any lowering of fees. We are also seeking a meeting with the Minister to make our position clear on appropriate and sustainable future fees and pricing levels.

“Speech Pathology Australia has undertaken a great deal of advocacy around pricing and the NDIS. It is disappointing to see all this hard work and effort undone by inaccuracy in media reporting on this critical issue.

“The Association’s work in this space includes involvement in the most recent round of pricing consultations with government, including working with Allied Health Professions Australia on this matter.

“We are continuing to advocate to address issues relating to the indexation of prices, the cost of running a practice, the extensive amount of work that speech pathologists undertake, both in preparing and documenting a session to NDIS requirements, and the financial and administrative burden of registration that comes with being involved with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”

Speech Pathology Australia has to date not heard back from the newspapers in question about corrections to the article.

Date - 10 October 2022

Media contact: Communications and Marketing Manager, Rebecca Faltyn, [email protected] 

Speech Pathology Australia is the national peak body representing more than 13,500+ speech pathologists. The Association supports and regulates the ethical, clinical and professional standards of its members, as well as lobbying and advocating for access to services that benefit people with communication and swallowing difficulties.

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