Proposed Bill could allow childbirth injuries to be covered by ACC

  • 27/05/2022

A Bill put before the Select Committee could soon allow women who get injured while giving birth to be entitled to funded treatment - but only if falls under a set list of trauma.

There is currently a huge discrepancy between the amount women and men are paid out by ACC and what is covered, and there are calls for the proposed Bill to stop the burden of childbirth injuries falling on women.

Green MP and ACC spokesperson Jan Logie wants the Bill to go further and allow all injuries and trauma to be covered by ACC.

"At the moment it's got a shortlist and it's not covering everything," Logie told AM show co-host Melissa Chan-Green.

She said the exact number of women affected by physical and mental injuries during childbirth is not known because it is a poorly researched area.

"We need to have a health care system that checks in with people," Logie said. "We don't have that at the moment."

"We have heard from women who years later… Were saying I have been living with this my whole life thinking this is normal, I didn't know it could be treated."

Melissa Smith is one of the thousands of women who have been injured during childbirth.

She suffered an injury through blood loss after giving birth and said she was not followed up on.

She said she had a quick five minute chat with the surgeon six weeks later and had a weekly check-up with her midwife but after that, "that was it".

She said the healthcare she had to get following her injury has cost her between $3-4 thousand.

"My husband had a rugby injury a few years ago, he dislocated his shoulder. Straight away ACC covered all his physio appointments," Smith said.

"ACC was never even offered to me."

Logie said ACC has around a billion-dollar difference each year being paid out between men and women.

"It's ridiculous, we need to just get ACC into the 2022s, it's stuck back in the 50s."

The Bill at the moment is estimated to cost around $25 million.

"That's a cost that woman and their whānau are carrying at the moment and it compounds because people don't get timely treatment and injuries worsen," Logie said.

"It's a good investment."