ACC shirking, says injured woman

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 18/06/2013
Liz Johnson
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
TREATED LIKE GARBAGE: Liz Johnson has been cut off by ACC, despite not having fully recovered from an injurous fall in February, she says.

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A retired Invercargill woman who fell at the city tip in February, suffering a fractured wrist, ankle and leg, has been cut off by ACC before she has fully recovered, her doctor says.

Liz Johnson, 65, said she was still struggling to complete everyday tasks but it appeared ACC was in a "rush to get her off its books".

The ACC website says its job is to support injured people and help them get back to work and everyday life as soon as possible.

"I feel like I have not been treated like a person but more like just a case number," Ms Johnson said. In an assessment form sent to Johnson dated June 6, ACC said it was sorry it could not approve her ACC home and community support services.

The report said Johnson had no further accident-related needs after June 15. "Furthermore, you have adequate home help assistance of 3.5 hours per week from Access Ability."

However,  Johnson said yesterday she still found it difficult to shower, dress and prepare meals.

She said her mistrust of ACC was further compounded with the agency failing to get her pre-existing medical conditions correct.

"The report says ‘hospital notes indicate Mrs Johnson has had a total hip replacement recently',"

But  Johnson said she had never had any problems with her hips.

Johnson's doctor, Anton De Croos, told Fairfax Media yesterday that in his opinion Johnson should be receiving support from ACC for "a considerable while longer".

She still needed additional medical and physiotherapy treatment for her injuries, he said.

Johnson said the 3.5 hours home help provided by Access Ability was for completely unrelated health issues.

ACC was shirking its responsibilities and trying to make other agencies and people do its job, she said.

"They [ACC] are even trying to get my tenant to provide me with home care," she said.

Johnson shares her home with 77-year-old boarder Stephen Bazely who said he had his own health issues to worry about.

"It is a dereliction of duty by ACC," Bazely said.

Because he had to help Johnson during the time ACC support was not there, it appeared there was now an expectation he was to act as her carer, Bazely said.

"What choice do I have if ACC can't be bothered to carry out its responsibility in terms of patient care," he said.

ACC spokesperson Stephanie Melville said that after Johnson's injury in February, ACC funded equipment such as the rental of an electric wheelchair and other mobility assistance equipment. Minor assistance from the boarder [Mr Bazely] was discussed during the assessments.

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As a result, ACC funded seven hours of assistance a week to help with showering and meal preparation, Melville said.

In June, Johnson was reassessed as her needs had changed because of her recovery.

The latest assessment noted that she was able to independently manage her personal care needs.

Although she was having some challenges with meal preparation, her boarder was able to assist, Melville said.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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