ACC deep cuts could mean injured people forced to return to work too soon

New Zealanders should worry that ACC is being forced to cut spending and possibly jobs which could lead to injured people being forced to return to work before they are ready.

ACC’s 4000 workers, 72% of whom are women, were told this week that it has to find savings of 6.5% which could include people losing their jobs.

“Just like the cuts at Customs, Education and elsewhere, we don’t believe ACC can do better with fewer people,” said Duane Leo, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi, Aotearoa.

“The very agency charged with looking after those recovering from injury and getting them back to work and living fulfilling lives is now going to be shackled by this incoherent cost cutting exercise.

“We have seen in the past when ACC cuts spending, that means declining claims, limiting client’s access to entitlements (like home care hours or home modifications) and returning injured people to work before they are ready.

“Injured people are entitled to as much support as they need to get better. These are decisions for medical professionals not accountants.

“It makes no sense. ACC itself admits it’s under pressure to improve rehabilitation because people are taking longer to recover so how can reducing the head count make things better?

“In fact, this will only make rehabilitation outcomes worse. We urge the Minister of Finance to think again before lives are damaged by these decisions.

“This is yet another example of the Government trying to find money down the back of every couch to pay for its tax cuts for landlords and higher income earners.

“We’ve all been supported by ACC at some stage in our lives, so it’s clear we will all be paying a price for this reckless cost cutting plan,” said Duane Leo.

/Public Release. View in full here.