Spinal Alliance Launch

23 October, 2014

From the CEO - NewsLink Oct 2014

NewsLink readers will recall that AQA, along with seven other state-based spinal cord injury organisations, has been actively involved in establishing the Australian Spinal Injury Alliance (Spinal Alliance) in order to provide a national voice for Australians who have sustained a spinal cord injury.

The Spinal Alliance was formally launched this month at an event co-hosted by AQA and Independence Australia.

At the launch we acknowledged that in 2014 we know more about SCI than ever before. But despite our best intentions and the tireless work of individuals and organisations - much of this progress is constrained by the way we organise and administer things. As we advance we specialise; and as we specialise we create pockets of expertise, knowledge and experience. To help define roles and responsibilities we arrange things in silos that don’t reflect the whole experience of the person with SCI. For the person living with spinal cord injury this fragmentation and lack of coordination results in systems that are difficult to navigate, access to supports, services, equipment, health care that are characterised by waiting lists, rationed resources where people getting stuck in systems.

There is growing momentum to re-think our approach to outcomes. For example; the NDIS has said it wants to place the person at the centre of plans built around goals & aspirations and achieving outcomes that matter to them. Funded supports are seen as an investment on which there can be a return. Reviews are more about measuring outcomes rather than inputs. The TAC for its part has included Client Outcome and Client Experience alongside Scheme Viability as their 3 drivers in their TAC 2015 strategy. The research community more than ever are seeking to engage the SCI community to assist thinking about research design, priorities and knowledge translation.

The Spinal Alliance comes together to make the most of the opportunities of this time. We think the time is right to pursue a goal that would be difficult to achieve as separate organisations, a National Spinal Cord Injury Strategy that changes the way we think about outcomes after spinal cord injury and re-frames the way we plan, organise and deliver services.

The Spinal Alliance’s approach to the strategy is to facilitate discussion, promote coordination, work to identify outcomes most valued by people with spinal cord injury, set priorities of the service system to achieve those outcomes and start measuring and monitoring outcomes.  The Alliance will be working with likeminded organisations over the next year to keep the momentum up in re-thinking our approach to outcomes after SCI.

Peter Trethewey - CEO AQA Victoria Ltd

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