Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


More help to doctors for Sickness Benefit assess't

More help to doctors for Sickness Benefit assessments

The government is increasing funding and support to doctors assessing people for Sickness and Invalids Benefits.


The government is increasing funding and support to doctors assessing people for Sickness and Invalids Benefits, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

"The changes will provide greater certainty around the assessment process, to ensure people are getting their correct entitlement in every case," Steve Maharey said

"The changes include greater use of second-opinion advice, so Doctors have better support in making assessments, and more robust information is available for Work and Income case managers. "The three changes - which take effect this month - were developed in consultation with the NZ Medical Association, the Royal College of GPs and Independent Practice Associations.

"Firstly, fees paid to designated doctors, who assess medical eligibility for Invalid's Benefits, will increase to bring them in line with market rates. Fees to designated doctors and psychologists - which have not gone up since they were introduced in 1995 - increase from $67.50 to $119.25 per visit. Specialist fees increase from $103.84 to $168.75.

"Secondly, we have moved to address the dilemma doctors may face in determining medical eligibility for people applying for a Sickness Benefit. GPs and Work and Income case managers can now refer people to a designated doctor if they want a second opinion on a person's medical eligibility for a benefit.

"This new referral programme has been trialled in Wellington and Porirua since February and will now be available nationwide.

"Thirdly, we are changing the assessment forms used by doctors so more information can be provided about the sorts of work activities people are able to undertake.

"Many doctors were already providing information, written in the margins of the old form. As we now provide full employment services to people on Sickness and Invalids Benefits who want to work, it is important better information about their capabilities is captured."

The changes support the implementation of a $27.7 million initiative in this year's Budget to help more Sickness and Invalid's beneficiaries move into work.

The NZ Medical Association welcomes the increased fees says GP Council chairman Dr Peter Foley.

"It's important for government agencies to keep up with rising costs and market forces so that we retain skilled GPs in New Zealand. We have appreciated the Ministry's consultation process over this issue."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news