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Compensation Should Not Be A Lottery

Compensation Should Not Be A Lottery

Monday 8 Sep 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today said she was not surprised that record numbers of medical misadventure claims were made in the last financial year, nor that the amount paid out in compensation has hit an all-time high.

"Lump-sum payments for permanent impairment from medical misadventure were introduced in April 2002. This has encouraged people to claim compensation for any problem they might have experienced when receiving medical treatment - whether they think the health professional was to blame or not," Mrs Roy said.

"These claims are often frivolous and relate to harmless consequences of treatment - including minor bruising after having a blood test.

"Lump-sum payments have given people an incentive to use every, or any, excuse to claim compensation. ACT is opposed to this. Compensation should only be used to cover the disadvantage a patient has experienced as a result of medical misadventure.

"Labour is currently reviewing the medical misadventure system. Lump-sum payments are not acceptable in any situation. Compensation should be distributed on an regular basis - as assistance to disadvantaged patients with genuinely proven need, not as a one-off lottery-style payment," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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