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Now you want us to donate our time, Minister?

Please consider the following open letter to the Minister for ACC, for publication as a letter to the Editor.
Now you want us to donate our time, Minister?

An open letter to the Minister for ACC, Hon Maryan Street

Dear Minister
Have you formed a new government policy, that physiotherapists must donate their services to patients?

In the Budget you have ignored the report your government commissioned from an independent reviewer (David Goddard QC), so this is the only conclusion we can reach. Mr Goddard was clear that accident treatment costs are coming out of physiotherapists' own pockets. He told you in November we needed a 33% increase immediately. We infer from your zero funding increase for ACC physiotherapy fees that you are happy for us to continue this donation of our time and expertise.

Remember Mr Goddard's statement that "ACC funding arrangements for physiotherapists are unsustainable"? Well, "unsustainable" means "can't go on". Your main providers of treatment for injured New Zealanders cannot go on. Your government talks so much about sustainability – but it is all words, no action.

With the best will in the world (and believe me, physiotherapists care deeply about our patients) we cannot keep our clinics open without enough money. You paid a reviewer to establish how much we need to keep going. Naturally we asked, so when are you going to pay us? All part of the budget process, you replied. We waited. And … nothing. Nothing? Not 33%, not 20%, not even 10%? No increase at all. What was the point of the review, then?

When New Zealanders cannot find physiotherapists to treat them after accidents, what will you tell them?
Jonathan Warren
President, New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists


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