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Claimants' complaints valid

Claimants' complaints valid

Many long term ACC claimants recently laid complaints with ACC's Office of the Complaints Investigator over David Rankin's inappropriate comments in media reports regarding Work Preparation Programmes.

Rankin said "People with serious injuries get into the habit of watching TV all day, getting up at midday and lose the routine, lose some of the self-presentation skills".

The letters received by claimants in the last few days state that the complaints investigator found the complaints to be valid and contains an apology from Dr Rankin.

His apology reads thus: "Let me say on the outset that my comments, as quoted, were not intended to cause offence. They obviously have, and for that I sincerely apologise.

There is no doubt that some long term seriously injured claimants have to face issues of depression and lack of motivation.Unfortunately I did not ensure that the article in the paper distinguished that my remarks were addressed at this minority of claimants.

I also appreciate the concerns raised about the use of the word "benefits". I acknowledge that ACC payments are entitlements, and I shall be mindful of this distinction in the future.

Once again I sincerely apologise for the offence my comments caused".

Dr Rankin also referred to "benefits" and apologised for confusing this with entitlements. "How could a member of the ACC executive make such a fundamental mistake - unless he was deliberately trying to spin the public mind." said an ACCLAIM spokesperson. "In that context his statements will obviously have influenced the minds of the ordinary person in the street."

ACC Complaints investigator, Peta Cherry, says she considers this apology to be sufficient remedy. Claimants however say that the original comment was made in the public arena and the apology must also be made in the public arena. As a medical doctor and an ACC executive with the motto Prevention, Care, Recovery Dr Rankin's adverse, generalised and, some would say, defamatory statements about people with serious injuries are important in the public interest.

In those circumstances claimants consider Dr Rankin's apology to be inadequate and unsatisfactory. It is now open to claimants to have the matters formally and independently reviewed. We understand that claimants are now considering that option apart from the expectation of a written public apology.

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