ACC Minister Carmel Sepuloni recently announced his intention to change ACC legislation.
Currently, maternal childbirth injury coverage is only available when an injury is caused by medical treatment provided to the giving birth parent.
This is called a treatment injury.
Maternal injuries in childbirth, unlike other injuries, are not considered to be caused by “the application of force (including gravity) or resistance, external to the human body” because A fetus is legally considered to be internal to the human body until it is born.
It is proposed that a defined list of seven trauma related to maternal childbirth, developed by ACC and medical experts, be covered by the ACC law.
New Zealand College of Midwives CEO Alison Eddy said the proposed changes were a positive step.
When ACC reworked its guidelines for coverage last year, a significant number of people could no longer get ACC-funded care, she said.
The injury list was the right one to include, although she felt more could be covered, especially when it came to mental health.
“I hope that when it goes through the select committee process …
” There should be no barrier for women to access the treatment and care they need now.
It’s a really positive gesture, [I] congratulate the ACC Minister for taking it on. ”
Dunedin’s mother, Disa Walker, was delighted to hear the proposed changes.
Yet while she thought ACC was a wonderful system, she believed that more could be done. She had engaged in a legal battle with VAC over the past few years to have her birth-related injury covered.
There were too many barriers preventing women from obtaining funding, she said.
Since treatment-related injuries were the only ones covered by current legislation, it was difficult to prove medical negligence, she said.
She believed that the birthing process had been neglected when drafting the current legislation.
Ms Walker had three births and while one was traumatic, the other two were very positive.
Dunedin Hospital’s Clinical Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Robert Crumb, said the lack of routine ACC coverage has resulted in delayed recovery for some women who experience tears during surgery. childbirth.
Dr Crumb believed the changes would improve care options for women across New Zealand.
The ACC covered injuries that occurred in life, and childbirth was an obvious part of life, he said.
“In my opinion, this law will help the CCA to better serve the intended purpose.”
Midwife Fiona Heares said midwives and women have been looking to increase ACC coverage for birth injuries for some time.
She believed that covering treatment-related injuries, but not injuries sustained during labor, left a void.
âAs midwives we see and know the impact of severe birth injuries on the health and well-being of parents and as a flow on their ability to nurture and parent.
“It is often a hidden handicap in their life.”