News & Current Issues

“ACC’s Culture is Sick”- Advocate

Press Release – 11 September 2012:

On February 3, 2012 the NZ Herald reported on communication between ACC staff to limit assessments it was arranging to address Mrs Diane Smith’s needs in relation to a serious ankle injury, which subsequently required amputation.… Read more

Important Notice from David Wadsworth to new and existing clients

Notice to Clients – 28 February 2012:

On Feb 18 my elderly mother had a significant stroke resulting in my time naturally being spent on family matters. Going forward my wife, Linda and I (and supported by whanua) will be taking responsibility for ensuring my mother can return home but not have to deal with her own life-long commitment to another family member.… Read more

ACC – Lifting the Lid on Social Rehabilitation

Press Release – 3 February 2012:

Access Support Services is concerned about what appears to be a culture within ACC that allows staff managing claims to affect the outcome of assessments and, ultimately, the decisions ACC makes related to social rehabilitation e.g.… Read more

ACC Refuses to Revisit Surgery Decisions

Press Release – 26 June 2011:

In May ACC released a report on its internal review into the way it makes decisions on requests to fund surgery. This came about as a result of a sustained public outcry during 2010, which included the Orthopaedic Surgeon’s national body, claimants and politicians.… Read more

ACC review body’s independence hailed

Changes to ACC making its review body an independent Crown company are being welcomed by Nelson-based national advocacy organisation Access Support Services.

ACC Minister Nick Smith said separating Dispute Resolution Services Ltd (DRSL) from ACC was needed to reinforce the independence of the review system.… Read more

Open Letter to ACC re: Surgery Funding Decisions

18 May 2011

Denise Cosgrove
General Manager Claims Management
ACC Corporate Head Office
PO Box 242

(Open Letter) Elective Surgery Funding Decisions

I am writing to you regarding the outcome of ACC’s recent internal review into elective surgery funding decisions and the potential unfairness brought about as a result of the way ACC has been making these decisions since 2009.… Read more

“ACC Must Revisit Surgery Funding Decisions” – Advocate

Press Release – 16 May 2011:
Last week ACC released the findings of its internal review into decision–making regarding funding surgery. The report revealed that in the nine months to March; 44 per cent of the ACC decisions declining to fund surgery challenged through the independent review process were overturned in favour the claimant, compared with average of 25% for all decisions for the same period.… Read more

“ACC Playing Numbers Game” – Advocate

Press Release – 14 May 2011:
In a recently released report titled “ACC Review of Elective Surgery Decision-making” ACC’s internal review shows that in 2009/10 of 1,167 declined surgery decisions challenged through the review process, 36% were found to be wrong.… Read more

“ACC’s Culture Must Change” – Advocate

Press Release – 13 December 2010:

Over the last year there have been numerous negative media reports about the way ACC is managing claims, especially concerning sexual abuse victims and decisions declining surgery funding. Many organisations, including medical practitioners, counsellors and lawyers, have expressed the same concerns raised by Access Support Services over the last year.… Read more

Shutdown ACC’s ‘Sensitive Claims Unit’ – Advocate

Press Release – 8 November 2010:

Last year ACC’s Sensitive Claims Unit (SCU), based in Wellington, implemented its new clinical pathways for claimants suffering from the effects of sexual abuse. It also adopted the so-called “tough love” policy drafted by one of its senior officials, Phil Riley, who set out a strategy on how to exit claimants from the Scheme, including suspending entitlements.… Read more

The Sunday Star Times Story

Press Release – 19 April 2010:

The Sunday Star Times has reported on a case concerning the actions of ACC staff and our clients since 2006, including what appears to be emails between staff making denigrating comments about our client – see story here.… Read more

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

An email exchange between David Wadsworth (Advocate) and Laurie Edwards (ACC’s Lead Advisor, Media and Public Relations) about ACC’s claim that only 1% of its surgery decisions are overturned at review.

Read the emailsRead more

ACC looking to revoke historic Sexual Abuse claims

Press Release – 25 January 2010:   Access Support Services understands ACC are looking at stopping all entitlements to claimants who lodged sexual abuse claims under former Acts if the actual abuse occurred prior to the introduction of the ACC scheme in 1974.… Read more

ACC refuses 4 in 5 shoulder surgery requests

Press Release – 17 December 2009:   In Parliament’s question time on Tuesday Labour’s Ruth Dyson asked the Minister for ACC why ACC are rejecting 80% of shoulder surgery requests. Pansy Wong responded by saying “there are protocols for assessments for acceptance of coverage.” Access Support Services questions the Minister’s response.… Read more

ACC Changes – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Press Release – 14 October 2009:   Dr Smith, Minister for ACC, has announced a raft of measures to assist in making the ACC scheme more sustainable. Changes include increasing levies and reversing the changes the Labour-led Government made to the scheme last year.… Read more

ACC’s Great Leap Backwards

Press Release – 7 October 2009:   It has been reported today that ACC intends engaging private firms to carry out case management of long-term claimants receiving weekly compensation. This appears to be part of ACC’s new ‘tough love’ policy that Access Support Services first revealed in our media release dated 2 September 2009.… Read more

ACC Adopts “Tough Love” Strategy

Press Release – 2 September 2009:   Access Support Services has come into possession of an internal document from ACC’s Corporate Head Office. It sets out ACC’s plan to embark on a strategy to reduce its liability by targeting long term claimants receiving $600 or more a week in earnings compensation, reassess its liability to provide ongoing cover and entitlements, adopt a “tough love” approach and use “non-compliance” as an acceptable “exit path.” ACC’s motivation appears to be fear of privatisation or being opened up to competition.… Read more

ACC’s “Tough Love” Strategy Document (PDF) – available here

On 2 September 2009 Access Support Services issued a press release about ACC’s “Tough Love” strategy document (see below), which outlines the proposed changes to ACC’s culture and implementation of an aggressive exiting programme in order to reduce its liability. We have now decided to make a copy of this document, which was released by ACC under the Official Information Act to a third party, available on our website in PDF format.… Read more

NZ Parliament Question Time (25/8/09)

Q, 7. Accident Compensation—Treatment of Sensitive Claims

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

7. Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour) to the Minister for ACC: How will the proposed changes to the treatment of sensitive claims meet the legal requirements of the ACC scheme to provide “for a fair and sustainable scheme for managing personal injury that has, as its overriding goals, minimising both the overall incidence of injury in the community, and the impact of injury on the community”?… Read more

ACC – Only 127 Sexual Abuse Claims

Press Release – 21 July 2009:   On Monday, TV 3’s 60 minutes programme exposed 500 cases of alleged abuse, including sexual abuse, at children’s homes run by the former Department of Social Welfare. The lawyer representing these complainants said she felt it was just the tip of the iceberg.… Read more

ACC’s Cost Cutting for Sexual Abuse Victims “a Sick Joke”

Press Release – 6 July 2009:   Rape Crisis NZ estimates 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men will experience sexual abuse in their lifetime, many before the age of 16. Statistics New Zealand figures shows that about 3,700 sexual abuse cases were reported to the Police in 2008.… Read more

ACC should continue funding of sexual abuse help-line

Press Release – 27 May 2009:   It has been reported ACC intends discontinuing its funding for the Auckland sexual abuse help-line. The reason ACC has given is that it is outside its legislative responsibility.

Access Support Services considers ACC has a clear responsibility to fund such initiatives.… Read more

ACC’s Elective Surgery Unit in Crisis Mode

Press Release – 5 May 2009:   Over the last year Access Support Services has seen an increase in enquiries by claimants wanting to review decisions made by ACC to decline funding of elective surgery. Most of these cases involve shoulder injuries.… Read more

The Problem with ACC

Press Release – 5 March 2009:   Talk about ACC and peoples eyes glaze over. But the problems with the ACC scheme have been around for a while. Access Support Services, a privately-run advocacy organisation, has issued numerous press releases about these problems and brought these to the attention of both ACC and the Government.… Read more

ACC Admits to Short-Changing Claimants

Press Release – 15 January 2009:   ACC has dropped a bombshell admitting that from a sample of 144 claimants’ rehabilitation plans taken in June 2008 more than half did not meet ACC’s “standards.”

“This is a staggering admission by ACC” says Mr David Wadsworth, Advocate and Principal of Access Support Services.… Read more

Advocacy Service welcomes new Minister for ACC

Press Release – 17 November 2008:   David Wadsworth and Tony Gibbons of Access Support Services, a Nelson-based nationwide advocacy service, congratulate Nick Smith on his appointment as the new Minister for ACC.

“We are pleased to see Nick Smith has been given the ACC portfolio.… Read more

ACC Changes Opens Door for Exited Claimants

Press Release – 27 June 2008:   The Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Amendment Bill (No 2) is set to come into effect on 1 August 2008. One of the significant changes to the current legislation is that ACC must take into account a claimant’s pre-injury earnings when determining if a claimant has a capacity to work.… Read more

ACC Review Fails to Identify Systemic Failures

Press Release – 3 April 2008:   The ACC has commissioned PricewaterhouseCooper to conduct a review of the ACC Scheme. On Monday ACC released the report.

“The PricewaterhouseCooper report fails to identify the systemic failures within the ACC Scheme” said Mr David Wadsworth, Principal of Access Support Services.… Read more

ACC Floods Job Market with “Stock Clerks”

Press Release – 23 March 2008:   We find if you are male, employed in medium to heavy type work and suffer an injury that prevents you returning to that employment then chances are ACC will rehabilitate you into being a Stock Clerk.… Read more

Maori and Blue Collar workers disadvantaged by ACC Scheme

Press Release – 23 March 2008:   Maori make up 14% of those who suffer an injury and go onto weekly compensation but only make up 9% of claimants receiving long-term weekly compensation. Is it that Maori rehabilitate faster than other ethnic groups?… Read more

ACC responds to Advocates call to comply

Press Release – 19 August 2006:   Access Support Services wishes to congratulate ACC for responding to our call and making a significant change in policy.

ACC has agreed to comply with the legislation and will now inform claimants about their right to have a representative involved when ACC prepare their rehabilitation plan.… Read more

Claimants’ Right to Representation

ACC may not be adequately informing you about your right to have a representative involved when preparing your Individual Rehabilitation Plan (IRP). While ACC does inform claimants about the right to have a support person attend meetings this is poles apart from representation.… Read more

Your Individual Rehabilitation Plan (IRP) is the most important document, after your medical reports, on your ACC file. Is yours right for you?

There is a pressing need for funding from ACC to cover the costs of advocacy and representation for the client when an IRP is being prepared.

The IRP is crucial to a successful agreed outcome in the interaction between case manager and client.… Read more

Waikato ACC claimants – A New Era in Dispute Resolution

ACC is to implement an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) pilot at its Hamilton Branch. ACC will offer mediation to claimants as a way of resolving disputes about their rehabilitation plans and most other issues.

Do not attend Mediation cold. Seek assistance from independent, experienced representatives.… Read more

Lump Sum / Independence Allowance and other entitlements

Access Support Services regularly come into contact with claimants who are not aware that they may have entitlement to lump sum compensation and/or the independence allowance. It would appear that ACC has failed to effectively communicate this entitlement to claimants over the years.… Read more

Having a support person when dealing with ACC

ACC problems can be very difficult to deal with. Difficulties can increase when you are in pain, on medication, have a reduced income and need to negotiate with a body that sometimes seems more interested in its own complex legislation, policies and processes than with its clients – who they should be there for in the first place!… Read more

Potential earners

Access Support Services has come across claimants who have never been told by ACC about their entitlements as potential earners. A potential earner is someone who suffers an accident while a student and under 18 years of age, or has been in continuous study after the age of 18 and is unable to work because of the injuries.… Read more

03 548 6962 or 09 281 4558

PO Box 9058, Nelson