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42 cents insult provokes Blue Letters from physios

42 cents insult provokes Blue Letters from physiotherapists

After 16 years without an increase in regulation fees, a proposed extra 42 cents ($0.42) for each treatment given to an ACC claimant is an insult to the physiotherapy profession.

Physiotherapists have responded with a “Blue Letter Day.” On 22 August physiotherapists sent letters from themselves and their patients to the ACC spokespersons for three major political parties. Angry and frustrated with chronically inadequate fees, members of the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists are seeking a pledge that the ACC spokespersons, if they are in government after the election, will ensure ACC fees are reviewed.

Physiotherapy patients also wrote to the politicians, asking for the review so that the physiotherapy services they value will remain available and affordable in their communities.

Physiotherapy students wrote expressing their worries about the future of the profession they plan to enter.

The letters went to Ruth Dyson (Minister for ACC), Katherine Rich (National), and Peter Brown (NZ First), requesting a commitment to a comprehensive review of regulation and contract fees paid for services provided by physiotherapists to ACC claimants.

NZ First spokesperson Peter Brown has already given a private commitment to NZSP representatives that he will seek such a review of fees if NZ First is in government.

Kirsten Davie, President of the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists, fears for the financial viability of many physiotherapy practices if the fees paid by ACC for physiotherapy services are not addressed. Problems with recruitment and retention of physiotherapists will escalate, so threatening the availability of physiotherapy services, to the detriment of the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.

A shortage of physiotherapists will also have a serious impact on ACC costs, as hospital bed days, days off work, and home help services increase – since early physiotherapy intervention is crucial to discharge from hospital and to the healing of injuries.

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