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Media Release        

15 December 2010

Call for inquiry into ACC

The avalanch of rejected ACC claims for surgery currently being publiciised by the NZ Herald should trigger an independent inquiry into ACC, according to the ACC Futures Coalition.

“The internal review announced today in Parliament by the Minister is not good enough”, said Hazel Armstrong spokesperson for the ACC Futures Coalition. “Indeed the fact that he has had to give ACC instructions to fairly meet its legislative obligations is an admission that ACC has lost its direction.”

“We are daily seeing a litany of poor decisions by ACC using degeneration and pre-existing conditions as a rationale to refuse legitimate claims for surgery,” said Hazel Armstrong. “Hundreds of New Zealanders who have paid their levies are being denied reasonable entitlements under the scheme.”

“This is part of the same picture that we have seen developing since the beginning of last year. The government began with a manufactured crisis in ACC’s finances and have used this as a justification to deliberately and consistently undermine the scheme.”

“We have seen the victims of sexual abuse put through ridiculous and stressful hoops in order to have access to counselling under the scheme. We have seen legislative change that has severely curtailed entitlements. We have seen the exclusion of those with less than 6% work-related hearing loss excluded from coverage and recent hearing regulations transfer the cost of hearing needs assessment, fitting and hearing  devices onto the health system and individuals. We have seen an increase of people being pushed off ACC compensation onto sickness and invalids benefits and now there is a growing group of ordinary New Zealanders being denied surgery for injuries that most sensible people would see as being appropriately covered by ACC,” said Ms. Armstrong.

“There is a pattern here and that pattern is about discrediting our world-class ACC scheme so that it can be set up for radical change, probably involving full or partial privatisation,” said Ms Armstrong. “ACC is utilising private sector insurance techniques which are impacting negatively on legitimate claimants. The last thing we need is more private sector involvement.”

“When the government finally undertook a review of ACC’s processes in the area of sensitive claims it revealed problems with ACC’s approach and a rethinking of how the claims of sexual abuse victims were being managed,” said Ms. Armstrong. “With this latest list of problems it is clear that we need a comprehensive and independent inquiry into how ACC is performing against the principles on which it was established and how it can be restored to meet those principles again.”

“We call on the government or the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee to establish such an inquiry as soon as possible,” Ms Armstrong said.


The ACC Futures Coalition consists of community groups, academics, organisations representing people who need support from ACC, health treatment providers and unions who have come together around the following aim:

To build cross-party support for retaining the status of ACC as a publicly-owned single provider committed to the ‘Woodhouse Principles’, with a view to maintaining and improving the provision of injury prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and ‘no fault’ compensation social insurance system for all New Zealanders.

Contact:    

Hazel Armstong (Spokesperson) 027 472 1793
Glenn Barclay (Convenor) 027 295 5110

04:52PM Monday, 20 December, 2010

 
 
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