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“Insulting” Service Pricing Increase Impacting Most At-Risk Patients Following Allied Health Contract Decision

Physiotherapy New Zealand (PNZ), the national membership organisation for physiotherapists, says that ACC’s unsustainable and unfair pricing model is already impacting communities around New Zealand.

ACC sent out letters to all providers of the Allied Health Contract in May – which covers private practice and Te Whatu Ora services for ACC – advising of a 1% service price increase.

Physiotherapy New Zealand President, Kirsten Davie says the insulting increase falls well below the real costs of providing treatment under this contract.

“Providers are now faced with an impossible choice ahead of 1 July: either absorb the significant gap between this increase and the real cost of delivering treatment to the public or pass on the difference in cost to patients.

“Our providers know that patients are already doing it tough with the cost of living. They are already vulnerable as they are injured and are often out of work or on reduced hours – so when healthcare costs increase too, people stop treatment,” she says.

“Our members who have notified patients of the upcoming cost increases say customers are withdrawing from essential physiotherapy assessment or treatment plans.”

Common issues include:

  • Postponing or cancelling appointments due to financial pressures.
  • Delaying seeking treatment for injury, leading to prolonged or worsened outcomes.
  • Larger gaps between consults which delays recovery and impacts return to work status.
  • Inability to continue seeking care in the latter phases of post-surgical recovery.  
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Kirsten adds: “We are in this business to help people, and to make a difference to their health. This 1% increase is an insulting decision which will have a longtail impact on health outcomes in New Zealand. It also flies in the face of the government’s commitment that front line services would not be affected by its cost controls.”

PNZ has committed to its 5000-strong membership that it will continue to challenge ACC to provide a fair, sustainable pricing model that meets the real cost of treatment and ensures a sustainable physiotherapy workforce. 

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