By Lachlan Forsyth
James Ryan has a sore back.
But he's more concerned about the pain to his wallet if he goes to a physio.
“It's just been a niggling injury while it has got worse and worse and I haven't done anything about it and it's got to the point where it's almost unbearable!” says Mr Ryan
Since ACC canned the previous funding contract for physiotherapists, free visits have largely disappeared.
“Costs skyrocketed, nearly tripled over that time, over four years, and something had to be done, it wasn't sustainable for acc, the scheme, or our levy payers,” says Gayle Kettle from ACC.
The number of claims has dropped by a fifth from the same period a year earlier.
The number of physio visits by ACC clients has dropped by a third from one and a quarter million to 850,00.
And ACC's total expenditure has almost halved from $50 million to around $26 million.
“Some injuries will come right by themselves but often if you ignore the treatment side of it you're left with things like scarring, muscle shortening and a lack of advice on how to actually rehabilitate it,” says Phil Parker a retired physiotherapist.
Physiotherapists fear people are staying away because of the money.
“If people are requiring treatment it's really important they see their physiotherapist early before it becomes chronic,” says Gill Stotter from Physiotheraphy New Zealand.
And the industry is concerned people think they won't get any financial assistance at all.
“The ACC is still providing the majority of funding for people who have had an injury and our concern is that people are unaware of that and are not going to see a physiotherapist early enough,” says Ms Sotter.
“We don't think those who genuinely need treatment are missing out. We've seen no evidence of that,” says Ms Kettle.
ACC says it's relying on individuals to exercise some common sense about their injuries.
source: newshub archive