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Budget 2004: Reducing the cost of injuries

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for ACC

Reducing the costs of injury treatment

People with injuries will have cheaper treatment as a result of an increase to the subsidies ACC pays health professionals, says ACC Minister Ruth Dyson.

The increased subsidies are part of a $75 million Budget 2004 package which, over the next four years, will boost ACC contributions towards injury treatment. The package also includes funding for changes to medical misadventure provisions announced earlier this year.

"I am delighted that the cost of injury treatment from GPs, dentists and radiologists will be cheaper. This increased contribution demonstrates the government's commitment to ensuring more affordable treatment after an injury," Ruth Dyson said.

"A total of $21 million, spread over four years, will be invested in subsidies to medical practitioners, another $21 million for dental treatment, and $11 million for radiology services.

"This is part of an initiative that will move New Zealand closer to compliance with ILO Convention 17, requiring that the cost of work-related injuries is not passed on to workers.

"Another $19 million will fund the implementation of changes I announced in March to medical misadventure provisions. The existing provisions will be replaced with a new category eligible for ACC cover called 'treatment injury'. The changes ensure injuries of this nature are treated consistently under ACC's no-fault scheme by removing the need to find medical error.

"The medical misadventure changes will make access to ACC cover for injuries incurred during treatment fairer and simpler and will improve patient safety.

"The package also includes $3 million to extend ACC's discretion to provide entitlements in certain exceptional cases," Ruth Dyson said.

ENDS

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