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Headache For The Minister, Heartache For Patients

Media Release
29 March 2004

Backache: Headache For The Minister,
Heartache For ACC Patients

''On April 1, the Government brings in regulations that will impact adversely on physiotherapists, so much so I am informed, that many will close their doors and walk away from the industry,'' said New Zealand First ACC spokesperson, Peter Brown.

“It all revolves around the new terms and conditions being imposed on physiotherapists by the Endorsed Provider Network (EPN). If physiotherapists sign up, as the Government is pressuring them to do, they will be promoted by ACC and will deliver a free service to patients. However, they will be severely restricted in the number of patients they will be able to service and as a consequence, some patients, accident victims, will suffer. If physiotherapists do not sign up, as many will not, they will need to charge ACC patients a co-payment.

“It is my understanding that this is a much bigger issue than the Minister for ACC, Hon Ruth Dyson, outlined to me when she answered my question in Parliament recently. I am of the understanding that should the Minister continue to pursue this scheme, the industry expects something like 65% of physiotherapists to either leave the industry, or be forced out for financial reasons, within a very short timeframe,” said Mr Brown.

“The Government puts great store on operating in ‘good faith’. The Minister should take its own advice and show ‘good faith’. It should put this EPN scheme on hold for three months and conduct meaningful discussions with the physiotherapist industry.

“If she fails to heed such advice I suggest she is in danger of becoming the Minister who destroys the rehabilitation of accident victims in this country. Thereby she will make April Fools of not only physiotherapists but also their patients.

“I tell the Minister, New Zealanders deserve better,” concluded Mr Brown.

Ends

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