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One Doctor for Northland costs ACC thousands

Wed Oct 13 1999

The ACC only has one doctor for all of Northland based in Pahia to assess clients for the independence allowance and is spending thousands of dollars shipping patients to Auckland the Alliance said.

The independence allowance covers additional costs faced as a result of an injury and can be up to $61 a week. Doctors are certified by the ACC to assess independence allowances and need no specialist qualifications to do so.

'The Doctor servicing all of Northland is fully booked until January next year. Patients are being sent to Auckland instead of ACC finding a doctor locally to do the work,' Alliance ACC spokesperson Laila Harré said.

'The ACC is paying at least $250 to get people to Auckland or Pahia, when they could get a doctor to assess people in Whangarei costing them next to nothing.

'Public transport to Pahia is appalling. Patients have to wait for hours to get buses before and after their appointments.

'Patients have to pay their transport costs themselves and will eventually be reimbursed by ACC. For someone on a tight budget this is especially hard.

'ACC has created this situation by failing to approve enough Doctors in accessible areas.

'This failure is costing the ACC thousands in transport costs and is stressing patients who need rehabilitation not aggravation,' Laila Harré said.


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