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Brain Injury Report Puts Heat On ACC

ACC Spokesperson

23 November 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Brain Injury Report Puts Heat On ACC

ACC should be instructed to investigate the implications of the recent Lancet report on brain injury and make appropriate changes to their programmes and approaches, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Andrew Little says.

The report shows New Zealand has one of the highest incidences of brain injury in the developed world and that it is the leading cause of death and disability.

It points out that traumatic brain injuries "can and often do result in significant and long-standing deficits" including memory difficulties, depression and social maladaptation.

"My observation from dealing with many ACC claimants with head injuries, mostly quite mild ones, is that if ACC doesn't see anything physically wrong they assume there is no issue.

"Claimants face enormous difficulty getting assistance for a head injury if the symptoms emerge long after the accident causing the injury, which is often the case.

"It also seems that ACC staff sometimes don’t realise that the ‘difficult’ claimant they are dealing with may have a brain injury, something which calls for a different approach than the sometimes exasperated one some claimants experience.

"This report should now result in a major review within ACC to make sure their programmes and customer service approaches reflect the reality of brain injury in New Zealand,” Andrew Little said.



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