01 June 2011

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) will closely monitor the ACC’s workplace accident compensation scheme to ensure patients are not disadvantaged, following today’s announcement that it will be opened up to private competition.

The changes, due to take effect from 1 October next year, must not compromise patient care says NZMA Chair Dr Paul Ockelford.

“We need to ensure with all changes happening at ACC that the system is workable for doctors and patients. We understand the Government’s aims to make ACC more effective and efficient in providing cover, but the changes it is undertaking must also provide optimal care for our patients. We are pleased to hear the Government say that it is committed to full no-fault workplace injury coverage.”

Dr Ockelford says the NZMA strongly supports the need for rehabilitation and assistance from employers and their insurers to assist injured people to remain in the workplace where feasible. “ACC have made considerable progress in this area through their Better@Work scheme. Doctors play a vital role in this scheme.”

The NZMA supports the Government’s aim to introduce a clearing house for claims so providers have a single point of claiming, says Dr Ockelford.

“The NZMA has been a long-time advocate for a clearing house for claims. It is vital for efficient functioning of any widened access. General practice and other first contact providers need to know that their claims will be accepted and re-directed to the appropriate insurer. It will also help to avoid administration costs within General Practice.”