Rural ACC clients face chop in homecare services

Published: Sat 28 Nov 2009 01:19 PM
27 November 2009
For immediate release
Rural ACC clients face chop in homecare services
Up to 400 rural clients may lose their homecare support as a result of ACC’s decision to slash travel payments for homecare workers from next Tuesday, 1 December.
“This is a blatant attack by ACC on the rural sector and flies in the face of everything the National Party has ever stood for in terms of home care”, says Rural Women New Zealand executive officer, Noeline Holt.
Rural Women New Zealand has had a long involvement in the sector, providing homecare services to rural and urban clients through its company Access Homehealth Limited.
The cuts will mean ACC will no longer cover the costs of the first 20 kilometres travelled by homecare workers to visit their clients.
“This is cynical cost cutting by ACC which leaves homecare companies between a rock and a hard place,” says Ms Holt.
“The cuts would reduce support worker wages and travel reimbursement by up to 17 percent. However as providers cannot reduce employment terms and conditions for existing workers, the homecare companies will be forced to withdraw services from existing clients or face unsustainable losses.”
Agricultural workers feature particularly highly in workforce accident statistics due to the physical nature of their work.  However homecare companies are unlikely to take on new rural referrals where distance is a factor.
“It’s an equality of access issue, with rural being an easy target once again,” says Ms Holt.
“This short sighted cost cutting measure is likely to lead to longer, more expensive hospital stays as it will be impossible for some people to go home after an accident without homecare support.”

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