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To: The Prime Minister, Minister for ACC and Associate Minister for ACC
Lets change ACC for the better
Dear Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, Minister for the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), Hon. Iain Lees-Galloway and Associate Minister for ACC, Hon Willie Jackson.
The current system, processes and management guidelines of the only personal injury insurance we have access to appears to have become abusive and inappropriate to the needs of the injured in New Zealand.
In light of this please return ACC back to being managed by a commission rather than as a corporate, profit driven company, Which will ensure;
1. People's injury support is once again fully funded.
2. Place people's well-being before profit.
3. Improve their access to the resources they require to recover from injury.
4. Save millions of dollars by not requiring the need to pay for 'Expert' reports, when it is obvious that what is being requested has already been assessed as appropriate by someone who works in the field of injury (GP, Physiotherapist, osteopath etc).
5. Educate staff, including the managers and Ministers, to understand the traumatic impact severe injuries have on people (And their families), often resulting in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This will result in the management of people's processes in a more humane manner, which could probably result in a flow on effect as people will recover more quickly if they are not placed under further stress.
6. Ensure that all people receive the assistance they are entitled to, which they have already paid for.
7. Return a limited right to sue which allows people to sue for compensation of lost assets.
8. Make the dispute process easier and fairer, with people having access to free advocacy.
9. If the government is not prepared to return to a compensation method which more clearly reflects the needs of the people who pay for it, they need to modify the current system to use the accumulated assets, which people have already paid for, then return the right for people to choose their own health/injury insurance. This will enable people to be able to sue employers and others, who do not act in good faith towards those that are injured.
Why is this important?
Hello and Kia ora to all the people who take the time to read this campaign.
The reason I care about this is because, back in 2014, at the age of 60, when I was working alone with 17 people in a secure dementia facility, I was attacked, seriously assaulted and nearly killed, by a resident.
What I have discovered since is:
1. New Zealanders had their choices regarding injury cover changed, after a Royal Commission found that injured workers were not being being compensated enough for them to live on. Sir Owen Woodhouse in the 1967 Royal Commission report stated:
"Injury arising from accident demands an attack on three fronts. The most important is obviously prevention. Next in importance is the obligation to rehabilitate the injured. Thirdly, there is the duty to compensate them for their losses."
2. Subsequent governments have altered the original intention by changing the original commission (1977) to a corporation (1991), which has eroded people's ability get compensation.
3. When ACC was first made law in it fully covered all injuries, now it does not, people now receive only 80 % of what they earn. They are also required to pay the difference between what ACC covers and what they are charged for medical services (GP, physiotherapists etc.). Often this is beyond the reach of those who are already struggling to make ends meet due to the 20% difference between their original wages/salary and what ACC now pay them. Often this means they cannot, and do not, get the treatment they need to recover from those injuries, or they have to compromise the needs of their families to do so?
4. No-one in New Zealand ought to have a reasonable application for injury refused, if it has already been assessed as requiring treatment by a medical professional.
5. People in New Zealand are being forced to 'battle' with ACC in order to access the treatment and compensation they need when they are injured. Often they give up because they cannot afford to pay an advocate and are not aware that, in some cases, ACC pays for the support of an advocate.
5. An independent report carried out by Miriam Dean QC in 2015 recognised the dispute process flawed. The report recognised that better access to free advocacy needed to be put in place for people who dispute ACC decisions, as those who have advocates have a better outcome. The ACC annual report for 2018 acknowledged that there has been little or no improvement.
6. When people are injured they require a humanistic and empathetic approach from ACC to receive the assistance they need, otherwise there is a strong likelihood of re-victimisation.
7. If people have serious injuries that are going to require long-term support they need one case manager throughout the recovery time, not several, as is now the process. This means someone who is already struggling, is not having to tell/retell their story or fight ACC for subsequent material needs (Medication, personal requirements such as incontinence pads etc.), which could lead to re-traumatisation).
8. Both the above understandings are supported by most of the worlds leading psychologists (Van der Kolk. B. E; Moore, E, E et al; Briere. J. etc.).
9. If the government account and the investment account are combined ($4,228 million in 2016/$3,140 million in 2017/$4745 million in 2018) they too could fund most of the yearly costs of running ACC.
10.Given all this why are people having to fight for the compensation they need to heal.
How it will be delivered