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National must stop meddling with ACC before the election

13 August 2014

National must stop meddling with ACC before the election

The redesign currently occurring at the Accident Claims Corporation (ACC) for sensitive claims needs to be put on hold immediately, said the Green Party today.

The Green Party is concerned about work currently underway at ACC involving the sensitive claims service that could impact on the availability of clinical psychology treatment for victims of rape and sexual abuse as well as their privacy. The Green Party believes that ACC is instituting a new level of bureaucracy in order to farm out sensitive claims to private providers.

“Instituting major structural change into the way ACC delivers services to New Zealanders a few weeks out from a general election is unacceptable,” Green Party ACC spokesperson Kevin Hague said today.

“The new corporate insurance model that ACC is moving towards creates a new layer of bureaucracy that may enable companies to set up and profit from procuring the services of specialised psychologists.

“Private companies should not be able to turn a profit from the money intended to support the victims of sexual violence and abuse.

“ACC’s new model involves the creation of new, non-specialist ‘supplier’ entities who will tender for the provision of services with pre-existing treatment providers.

“Moving towards this model could result in non-specialised third parties handling extremely confidential information which is currently only held by the Sensitive Claims unit and select providers,” Mr Hague said.

“The supplier organisations do not need to be specialists in sexual violence services, but are entirely new organisations set up for nationwide competitive tendering. It is not clear that in the event of a breach of privacy or process who would be held to account.

“The sensitive claims redesign could result in a decline in the specialist workforce and undermine the provision of wrap around services.

“Any psychologists not signed up with a supplier or themselves becoming a supplier will be unable to provide ACC funded specialist claims services.

“The Government has missed the opportunity to redesign the sensitive claims pathway and fully implement the Disley report recommendations.”

The Disley report, released in 2012, suggested a wide range recommendations including improving communications with clients, refining ACC’s systems and processes, ensuring treatment and assessment is carried out by a well-qualified, fit-for-purpose workforce.

“National is choosing to push through major changes without properly consulting clients, advocates, psychologists or the public,” Mr Hague said.

“The new direction National is taking ACC lacks proper checks and balances.

“The Green Party will stop this attempt at privatisation of ACC by stealth.

"The Green Party has previously laid out a ten point plan for rehabilitating ACC and bring it back to the core principles it was founded on.”

Link to Green Party ACC plan: https://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/acc-rehabilitation-plan-announced

ENDS

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