New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) legislation will cover maternal childbirth injuries, under proposed changes revealed on Tuesday to improve and strengthen maternity services.
The government is improving equity and health outcomes for women through amending ACC legislation and an updated Maternity Action Plan, Minister for ACC Carmel Sepuloni said in a statement. About 85 percent of women in New Zealand experience an injury when giving birth. A small number of these injuries are severe and share similar features to other physical injuries covered by ACC so it’s only fair that they are covered too, Sepuloni said. “The extension of cover will benefit an estimated 17,000 to 18,000 more women per year who will now be able to receive cover for maternal birth injuries,” she said.
Enhanced ACC cover will improve the support available to birthing parents suffering childbirth injuries, and in particular, more timely access to surgeries and to pelvic physiotherapy, Sepuloni said. ACC is responsible for administering the country’s no-fault accidental injury compensation scheme. The scheme provides financial compensation and support to citizens, residents, and temporary visitors who have suffered personal injuries. According to the minister, women make fewer claims than men, have fewer injuries covered by the scheme than men, and each woman’s claim costs the scheme a third less than a man’s on average in entitlements, Sepuloni said.