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College Of Midwives Supports Call To Change ACCs Position On Severe Perineal Injuries

“It’s causing unnecessary suffering for women.”

That from the New Zealand College of Midwives which is strongly supporting calls for ACC to review its approach to cover for severe perineal injuries, saying the current position is too restrictive.

Last year, ACC changed its processes around claims for ongoing treatment following severe perineal injuries, with the intention of providing a more consistent approach to how those claims were managed. As part of the review process, the College of Midwives, (the College), along with representatives from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), were invited to participate in an ACC-convened working group, to provide advice on which circumstances should be covered by ACC.

College Chief Executive, Alison Eddy, says at the end of the review process the College was disappointed with ACC’s final guidance and did not endorse it.

“We are now concerned that ACC’s position is far too restrictive, and has resulted in women being refused cover for ongoing treatment following these distressing injuries,” she says. “There appears to be a significant reduction in the number of women who are eligible for ACC-funded ongoing care and treatment.”

The College says the restrictive ACC funding criteria around ongoing treatment costs for severe perineal injuries, along with a lack of available specialist treatment such as physiotherapy care, is leaving women with few options. They can currently either self-fund treatment, or deal with long wait times for access to care in the public health system, while dealing with distressing and debilitating symptoms.

“Overall we consider this to be a gender inequity issue,” says Ms Eddy. “If men suffered these kinds of injuries from a physiological process and suffered similar long-term consequences affecting their ability to carry out normal daily functions, we wonder if the approach would be different.”

The College is calling on ACC to review its approach to cover for severe perineal injuries and quickly so that women can receive the funded treatment they should be able to access.

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