By Rebecca Wright
As of November free trips to the physio will be a thing of the past.
ACC have announced they are cutting their physiotherapy subsidy for accident victims by a third, and it is a cost that will be passed on to the patient.
“What it will mean is that when people go to the physiotherapist they will no longer get free treatment, the physio will be able to charge a co-payment,” says
The co-payment is to cover the shortfall in treatment costs now that ACC are cutting funding for physiotherapy by a third.
Currently the average cost of a physiotherapy appointment is $55.
From the 16 November, ACC will contribute $31.93, leaving the accident victim to pay approximately $23 – which ACC says will save them $144 million per year.
“It’s largely around increasing costs which have been exponential, and the other is around wanting to make sure we get good outcomes for our clients,” says ACC Spokesperson Gail Kettle.
But it is the injured and unwell who the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists say will suffer from the cutback.
“Whenever you put a barrier in place of people in terms of getting treatment that means there is going to be a delay,” says society spokesperson Jonathan Warren.
“When there is a delay it is going to increase the pain and suffering, and will take longer for those people to get better and return to work.”
Physiotherapy has been free since 2004. Originally it was budgeted to cost $9 million, but it has now ballooned to around $139 million a year – and ACC says they are not seeing the right results for that kind of money.
“Getting rid of the free physiotherapy is that it has not been shown to improve rehabilitation outcomes since we’ve had it in place,” says Ms Kettle.
The Physiotherapy Society says that is more to do with an ageing population than any problem with the treatment.
The Government has signalled that this policy was on the cards for several months as part of their response to a blowout in the ACC budget.
For their part ACC says they will keep a watching brief on the effects of the policy on patients, and make amendments if they see fit.
source: newshub archive