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Media release 28 May 2010

ACC double standards on health benefits of work

The ACC Futures Coalition says it is deeply ironic that the Accident Compensation Corporation should openly endorse research showing that injured people out of the workforce are more likely to have higher rates of depression and suicide, and will potentially live shorter lives.

The ACC website carries an article praising the report ‘Realising the Health Benefits of Work’ from the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine which was released in Sydney last week and presented in Auckland on 25 May.

ACC Futures spokesperson Hazel Armstrong said: “The Corporation’s relentless drive to slash costs by unfairly refusing entitlements is leaving many injured Kiwi workers without the means to achieve proper treatment and rehabilitation. ACC is leaving them in the exact danger which it claims to be working to avoid.”

“We are well aware of the health benefits of work and wholeheartedly support ACC’s founding principle of full rehabilitation. Unfortunately the Government’s recent assault on the Corporation has totally undermined this principle and ACC is no longer adhering to that founding principle.”

“The positive, cooperative tone of ACC Director of Clinical Services Dr Kevin Morris’s comments on ACC’s Better@Work trial is at odds with the reality of claimants being hounded off weekly compensation and on to invalid and sickness benefits if they are not yet well enough to work.”

“The increased role of ‘partnerships’ between ACC and private sector third party administrators (announced on 30 April) to deal with a number of long term claimants also makes a mockery of the good intentions of Better@Work since third party administrators have been widely criticised for forcing claimants back to work before they are ready to do so.”

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.

12:00AM Friday, 28 May, 2010

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