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Government "abandoning injured New Zealanders"

Government "abandoning injured New Zealanders"

Government is abandoning injured New Zealanders and physiotherapists, according to Jonathan Warren, President of the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists, following a zero funding increase, in the Budget, for physiotherapists who provide ACC rehabilitation services. "The government is courting disaster for us and our patients," Mr Warren said. "It's the patients who will suffer most in the long term, when there's no physio to help them."

At least 33% was the increase a government-appointed reviewer recommended for physiotherapists' ACC fees. "This inaction is insulting. We're incredibly disappointed. The government has totally ignored the advice of its own reviewer. I wonder if this is due to physiotherapy being a female-dominated profession, and therefore easy to marginalise?"

Citing the findings of the independent review, Mr Warren warned that injured New Zealanders may lose the high quality care they need from physiotherapists the largest profession providing rehabilitation services.

Physiotherapists cannot "recover the sustainable cost of providing treatment to accident victims," David Goddard QC stated in his final report in November 2007. He also stated that current ACC funding arrangements for physiotherapists are unsustainable and that physiotherapists unfairly bear "a significant part of the cost of treatment for accidents". Mr Goddard was the reviewer in the Independent Review of the Way in Which Physiotherapy Services are Funded and Accredited by ACC.

"This absurd decision will mean all injured New Zealanders will be affected if physiotherapy services are limited or forced to close," Mr Warren pointed out. "As physios leave for better pay in Australia or opt out of the profession altogether for greater security, less stress and better pay in other occupations physio services are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain staff."


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