Prime Minister Ardern ensures officials contact Christchurch attack hero denied ACC help

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ensured officials have contacted a Christchurch mosque attack hero who was denied help by ACC.

On Monday, it was revealed by Newshub that Jill Keats, who was driving past the Al Noor mosque on March 15 when gunfire rang out and rushed to help a wounded man, had been declined help by ACC.

She says she no longer feels healthy enough to work her usual job as an Uber driver and her doctor says this is because she is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"I'll be just somewhere and all of a sudden I'll start crying and then... a few times I've smelled the cordite, and there's been no reason for it and I'm dreading Guy Fawkes," Keats told The AM Show on Monday.

"I shake a lot now, It's like I've got Parkinson's and I don't know why."

Ardern confirmed on Tuesday that she had heard Keats’s story and had asked officials to reach out to her.

"I did ask yesterday for officials to make sure case managers were reaching out to Jill, that police were aware of her situation as well. So I know people have made contact," Ardern told The AM Show on Tuesday.

She admitted there had been a gap with ACC in terms of how it dealt with mental health and trauma incidents - something the Government is working to fix.

"One of the issues, really early on when I started hearing some of the individual stories, was that we realised we had a gap with ACC around mental health, trauma depending on different eligibility circumstances.

"We have tried to plug that… we identified we had a gap with ACC, we worked to make a discrepancy fund over at MSD to try and plug that gap."

But Ardern said the new fund is not yet in place and couldn't say if Keats's application had been resolved as she didn't want to go into the details of an individual case.

Keats called her application being declined "shocking".

"I was shot at, but because I wasn't actually physically wounded I'm not covered. In saying that, I'm not the only one, the young guy that I helped save, well he's in the same boat.

"The public are the first on the scene. When the police did turn up they were fully kitted out in battle armour and yet the rest of us who were trying to help were on the ground with no protection, nothing."

ACC specialist John Miller told The AM Show mental injuries have always been the "poor cousin" to physical injuries.

He said the problem is that ACC could end up with thousands of claims of mental injury as it's more wide-reaching than physical.

"Think of a traffic accident in the street, they physical injuries from that are quite small but the mental injuries could be huge.

"If someone's head was cut off in a traffic accident, went rolling down Queen St or Lambton Quay you could have a thousand people suffering PTSD from one traffic accident, and so that's why the law has always been cautious."


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