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New ACC Treatment Injury law fairer and simpler

New ACC Treatment Injury law fairer and simpler

ACC Minister Ruth Dyson today welcomed the passing of legislation that reforms ACC's medical misadventure provisions making them fairer and simpler.

Ms Dyson said the primary purpose of the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Amendment Act (No 3) was to implement new rules for medical misadventure that would be known as treatment injury.

"No longer do ACC claimants have to demonstrate medical error or show that their condition is both rare and severe when they suffer an injury during treatment by a registered health provider," she said.

"The new cover provisions provide that treatment injuries are simply ones that result from treatment."

Ms Dyson said a learning environment would be fostered for health providers and organisations now that punitive fault-finding was gone from ACC's processes.

"The new provisions also encourage the health sector to participate constructively in the claims process by promptly providing the necessary medical reports and advice to ACC," she said.

The Act will help avoid the adversarial relationship that can develop between health professionals and their patients by doing away with the requirement that ACC report medical errors to the Health and Disability Commissioner.

But the safety net is maintained through provisions that require ACC to report information to the relevant professional body if it considers there could be a risk of harm to the public.

While treatment injury cover under the new Act was broader than the old medical misadventure rules, not every adverse outcome would be covered. For instance, cover would not be available if the injury was a necessary part of the treatment, if it was caused wholly or partly by the underlying health of the claimant or because the treatment did not produce the desired outcome.

The Act comes into force on 1 July 2005 and applies only to claims lodged on or after that date.

ENDS

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