9 Aug 2021

Physiotherapy patients waiting 'weeks, if not months' for ACC cover

7:22 pm on 9 August 2021

Physiotherapy clients are facing delays getting treatment following the roll out of ACC's new case management system, physiotherapists say.

No caption.

Photo: 123RF

It comes as RNZ reported ACC staff are overwhelmed with caseloads and facing huge backlogs following a $74 million restructure of its case management system, which was designed to increase productivity.

The new system was delaying physio clients rehabilitation, Physiotherapy New Zealand chief executive Sanda Kirby said.

"The wait times for responses is higher, and it's taking longer for clients to get resolutions. Our members are consistently telling us that the new system is less flexible, less patient centric and that means it takes longer to deliver treatment," she said.

Some physiotherapists were waiting "weeks, if not months for a simple yes or no response".

Any delay in providing physiotherapy treatment impacted on the lives of all New Zealanders, Kirby said.

It meant a delay in returning to work and daily activities and that meant poorer outcomes all round. She said it would also ultimately cost the taxpayer more as untreated injuries invariably exacerbated and could lead to long-term problems.

In a statement, ACC said it was aware of the delays in "reaching ACC's frontline teams".

"We are in regular contact with our providers and have apologised to them for the delays as we embed our new model. We know it's frustrating and impacts the services they provide to our clients.

"We are working urgently to improve the situation by hiring and training more people, focusing our teams on the highest priority requests, and making changes to our systems and processes to enable our physiotherapists and other providers to deliver timely services."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs