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ACC Minister Defends “Rapist’s Charter”

ACC Minister Defends “Rapist’s Charter” as best practice.

Wednesday 16th December, 2009
Press Release.

Kyle MacDonald

As the author of the petition submitted to parliament on the 27th October, signed by nearly four thousand people opposed to the new clinical pathway for sensitive claims, I am greatly concerned about the Ministers ongoing defence of a clinical pathway seen by providers of sensitive claims to be unethical and a “rapist’s charter.”

In a letter thanking me for the petition, dated the 11th of December, the Hon. Nick Smith defends this new pathway as follows:

“The Corporation's decision to review its guidelines is driven, not by funding, but by the implementation of best practice for managing clients with a mental injury. This process began in 2008 with the Massey Guidelines… ... After consultation with providers, ACC issued its revised Clinical Framework in July 2009, and held a new series of workshops.”

The minister is yet to explain how it is that ACC have stated publicly “that it is ACC policy to reduce the number of Sensitive Claims” despite his assertion these changes are not driven by funding.

The minister is also yet to answer the concerns of experienced providers. A recent survey showed that: less than 10% intend to continue to provide counselling services under this new pathway and 83% disagree or strongly disagree with the compulsory use of the DSM-IV under this new pathway.

How does this government continue to contend that these decisions will be made by “clinicians not politicians” when clinicians continue to be vehemently opposed?

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The minister is failing in his duty to protect the New Zealand public and monitor the activities of ACC. Recent figures show a 57% reduction in claims accepted since the introduction of the new pathway, when compared to last year.

What does the Minister say to those victims of childhood sexual abuse who have dutifully paid taxes and their ACC levies who will now suffer without care, unable to access funded counselling, unable to afford private care and unable to access mental health services?

Six months is too long to wait for a review when lives are at stake. I implore the minister to urgently review the current situation within the sensitive claims unit before lives are lost.


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